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Texts by William J. Simmons and Linda Yablonsky.
design: Marietta Eugster.
published in June 2016
30 x 23.5 cm (hardcover, dut cover)
296 pages (396 color ill.)
The first monograph dedicated to the chronicler of New York's underground, Still, Looking – Works 1969-2016 explores the interrelation between Sullivan's photographic work and his paintings & drawings. Includes essays by art historian William J. Simmons and critic Linda Yablonsky.
Since the early 1970s Billy Sullivan has accompanied New York's underground, art and fashion scenes with his camera, using the resultant photographic material as templates for oil paintings, pastel drawings and elaborate multi-part slideshow installations. Sullivan shows his friends, family, lovers and muses, as well as the worlds and demimondes in which they move: clubs, ateliers, rumpled hotel rooms and elegant beach houses. In Sullivan's imagery, which dispenses with any chronological order, the underground scene, the cultural elite and high society are always very close together, as are surface and abyss, the lust for life and the transience of youth. This distillation of Sullivan's photographs, paintings and drawings showcases an ongoing dialogue between camera and paintbrush that characterizes his work.
Sullivan's pictures are intimate, sensual and minutely observed. In his latter-day paintings, moments captured by his camera forty years back look as though they'd taken place only yesterday, defying the passage of time. They are unabatedly existential in their painstaking observation of casual beauty, desire and love in their every facet—between family members, lovers, fly-by-night acquaintances and kindred artistic spirits.
Sullivan succeeds in doing wholly without shock effects, voyeurism, irony and maudlin melancholy. The key to his work lies in the sincerity with which he approaches his subjects and to which they respond in kind. He juxtaposes images without comment or value judgment, piecing them together into a visual autobiography that is at the same time a chronicle of bohemian New York.
Billy Sullivan (born 1946 in New York, where he lives and works) has been exhibiting nationally and internationally since 1971. His solo exhibitions include shows at kaufmann repetto, New York (2016), Ille Arts, Amagansett (2015); Freymond-Guth Fine Arts, Zurich (2014); Salomon Contemporary, East Hampton (2010); and Regen Projects, Los Angeles (2008). He has been included in important exhibitions such as Ugo Rondinone's “I Love John Giorno
,” Palais de Tokyo
, Paris (2015); “GLAM! The Performance of Style,” Tate Liverpool, Liverpool (2014); “Open Windows,” Addison Gallery of American Art, curated by Carroll Dunham
, Andover (2012); and “Whitney Biennal: Day for Night,” Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2006). Sullivan's work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Parrish Art Museum, and the Denver Art Museum, as well as many other public and private collections.