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Sandrine Colard on the 6th Lubumbashi Biennale Ocula Conversation Sandrine Colard on the 6th Lubumbashi Biennale

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the largest Francophone nation in Africa with vast resources and nearly 80 million inhabitants, is a place where commodities play a vital role in the national economy and the country's significance on the world stage. This is the context from which the 6th Lubumbashi Biennale (24 October–24 November...

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52 ARTISTS 52 ACTIONS Symposium Brings Ideas Offline Ocula Report
In collaboration with Artspace Sydney
52 ARTISTS 52 ACTIONS Symposium Brings Ideas Offline 13 Dec 2019 : Elyse Goldfinch for Ocula

From 20 to 21 July 2019, Artspace Sydney held a two-day symposium that brought artists in conversation with leading curators, writers, activists, academics, diplomats, and journalists from across Asia. The symposium was the final chapter of the 52 ARTISTS 52 ACTIONS exhibition, publication, website, and Instagram project. Instigated and...

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U.K. Election Artist Nicky Hirst Reflects on ‘Fractured and Febrile’ Campaign Ocula News U.K. Election Artist Nicky Hirst Reflects on ‘Fractured and Febrile’ Campaign 13 December 2019

Boris Johnson's Conservative Party won an overwhelming majority in yesterday's U.K. General Election despite the efforts of artists such as Anish Kapoor and Antony Gormley , who came out publicly in support of Labour. Official U.K. General Election Artist Nicky Hirst couldn't comment on the result—the role requires her to remain neutral...

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Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough Ocula Insight
Sponsored Content | Mazzoleni Gallery
Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough 15 October 2019

Hans Hartung and Art Informel at Mazzoleni London (1 October 2019-18 January 2020) presents key works by the French-German painter while highlighting his connection with artists active in Paris during the 50s and 60s. In this video, writer and historian Alan Montgomery discusses Hartung's practice and its legacy. Born in Leipzig in 1904, Hans...

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HomePage Artists

b. 1978, USA

Hernan Bas Biography

With their thick applications of paint and distinct, layered brushstrokes, American artist Hernan Bas' sensual portraits and landscapes are inspired by literature, sexuality, old-world romanticism and the supernatural.

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Bas grew up in Florida and was struck by the superficial obsession with idealised male bodies in Miami in the 1980s and 1990s. Addressing such vanity, Bas made early paintings with the diet drink Slim Fast. In Slim Fast Silhouette (1999–2000), a thin young man sits with a finger outstretched, his body rendered in splotchy browns. The series' inclusion in a landmark exhibition titled Making Art in Miami: Travels in Hyperreality (2000) at the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami launched Bas' career.

Male beauty is paramount to Bas's figurative paintings. Stirred by the romance and sentimentalism of 19th-century writers like Oscar Wilde and Joris-Karl Huysmans, Bas' work is particularly concerned with the 'dandy' figure—a young, effeminate and handsome man—whom he renders often lounging with a blank expression in luxuriant settings. In Bloomsbury revisited (air plants) (2017), for example, a comely man's face is reflected in a golden mirror surrounded by ornamental objects such as a painted plate, a flickering candle and spidery succulents. Similarly, in the 2018 painting How best to tolerate the stench of modernity, a freckled, adolescent-looking boy daintily holds a fan in a lush, quilted red space that dissolves into abstract shapes towards the bottom of the canvas. In four bathers by a river (2017), young men in various stages of undress wade into an inky body of water, surrounded by plants.

With their layered imageries, Bas' paintings are the results of extensive research. He is informed by men's fashion magazines and books including Boy Scout manuals and legends of the occult. Ultimately, a long-standing interest in an 'otherworldly and coded history of homosexuality' (as the artist puts it) unites his oeuvre. The series 'Insects from Abroad'—exhibited at Perrotin Tokyo in 2018—was inspired by an 1874 book describing foreign bugs—Bas was struck that the book's poetic and fantastical language was similar to that used to describe dandies in the same century. Similarly, his series 'Bright Young Things'—first exhibited at Lehmann Maupin in 2016—is based on the homoerotic undertones of the aristocrats of 1920s London.

In addition to portraiture, Bas is also known for his byzantine and eerie landscapes. Ubu Roi (the war march) (2009) depicts a fantastical scene replete with ornate castles, stormy cliffs, a rayless river and mysterious marching figures. These heady, dreamlike paintings arise from Bas' interest in the paranormal, a fascination he attributes to mysterious experiences while growing up in suburban Florida.

Bas graduated from the New World School of Arts in Miami in 1996 and later left Cooper Union after one semester. His work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including at Kunstverein Hannover; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Saatchi Gallery, London; and the 53rd Venice Biennale.

Bas lives and works in Detroit.

Biography by Elliat Albrecht | Ocula | 2018

Current Exhibition
7 November 2019–4 January 2020

TIME LIFE

Exhibition view: Hernan Bas, TIME LIFE, Lehmann Maupin, 501 West 24th Street, New York (7 November 2019–4 January 2020). Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, and Seoul. Photo: Matthew Herrmann.

Hernan Bas Featured Artworks

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The Great and Powerful OZ's AV Guy (Or, Behind the Other Curtain) by Hernan Bas contemporary artwork
Hernan BasThe Great and Powerful OZ's AV Guy (Or, Behind the Other Curtain), 2019 Acrylic and charcoal on linen
213.3 x 182.8 cm
Lehmann Maupin Enquire about this work
The Glow Fish Enthusiast by Hernan Bas contemporary artwork
Hernan BasThe Glow Fish Enthusiast, 2019 Acrylic on linen
213.3 x 182.8 cm
Lehmann Maupin Enquire about this work
The Sip In by Hernan Bas contemporary artwork
Hernan BasThe Sip In, 2019 213.4 x 274.3 cm Lehmann Maupin Enquire about this work
A Moment Eclipsed 1 by Hernan Bas contemporary artwork
Hernan BasA Moment Eclipsed 1, 2019 274.3 x 213.4 cm Lehmann Maupin Enquire about this work
The Pundit by Hernan Bas contemporary artwork
Hernan BasThe Pundit, 2019 213.3 x 182.8 cm Lehmann Maupin Enquire about this work
The Signalmen * by Hernan Bas contemporary artwork
Hernan BasThe Signalmen *, 2013 Digital print on fine art 100% cotton paper
70 x 50 cm
Perrotin Enquire about this work
Wash Up (Cave of Enlightenment) * by Hernan Bas contemporary artwork
Hernan BasWash Up (Cave of Enlightenment) *, 2013 Digital print on fine art 100% cotton paper
50 x 70 cm
Perrotin Enquire about this work
Don't Tell It on the Mountain * by Hernan Bas contemporary artwork
Hernan BasDon't Tell It on the Mountain *, 2013 Digital print on fine art 100% cotton paper
70 x 50 cm
Perrotin Enquire about this work

Hernan Bas Current & Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Hernan Bas, TIME LIFE at Lehmann Maupin, New York
Open Now
7 November 2019–4 January 2020 Hernan Bas TIME LIFE Lehmann Maupin, 501 West 24th Street, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Show, Group Show at Perrotin, Seoul
Closed
24 September–26 October 2019 Group Show Perrotin, Seoul
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Them at Perrotin, New York
Closed
20 June–16 August 2019 Group Exhibition Them Perrotin, New York

Hernan Bas Represented By

Hernan Bas In Ocula Magazine

Dynamic Busan: More to see than just the sea Ocula Report Dynamic Busan: More to see than just the sea 31 May 2016 : Angela Suh for Ocula

The second largest city in South Korea, with a population of 3.6 million, Busan is a thriving metropolis situated at the south eastern end of the Korean peninsula. As a port city, Busan has a rich history of cultural exchange and is nationally acknowledged for its regional cuisine and diverse scenery. Reflecting its motto, 'Dynamic...

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Rachel Lehmann Ocula Conversation Rachel Lehmann

Rachel Lehmann is not only one half of the gallery powerhouse that is Lehmann Maupin , but she is also an international citizen of the world. Lehmann was born in Asmara, Ethiopia, and studied at the University of Fribourg in France. She worked at the legendary Sonnabend Gallery in New York, and was the proprietor of two contemporary galleries in...

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Hernan Bas In Related Press

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Korean, American artists reveal their pent-up desires in joint show Related Press Korean, American artists reveal their pent-up desires in joint show Yonhap News : 27 October 2017

Two artists exhibit two very different expressive styles — one is figurative and the other is abstract. Somehow, however, there exists quite a surprising similarity between American Hernan Bas and Korean Jeong Young-do when it comes to expressing suppressed desires in their works.

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Hernan Bas at Victoria Miro, London, UK Related Press Hernan Bas at Victoria Miro, London, UK Frieze : 15 September 2017

When the Detroit-based artist Hernan Bas arrived at Jesus College, Cambridge, for a period of research in 2016, he didn't know what 'fresher' meant. The term, familiar to anyone who's been to a British university, is used to describe first-year undergraduates and hints at much of the bravado of student life.

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Hernan Bas on Miami Culture and What Makes Art Gay Related Press Hernan Bas on Miami Culture and What Makes Art Gay Miami New Times : 9 May 2017

Young men's heads bobbing in an ocean heavy with secrets painted on a folding screen. A flock of spoonbills flying by Stiltsville on a triptych. A sculpture of a dead flamingo, doubled over like a macabre midcentury modern table, chained to a metal ball. This is Hernan Bas' 'Florida Living.'

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Hernan Bas on painting aristocratic, queer life in 1920s London Related Press Hernan Bas on painting aristocratic, queer life in 1920s London Hyperallergic : 17 April 2016

Aloof, gay waifs appear as persistently in Hernan Bas’s paintings as saints in a cathedral. While the young men that appear and reappear in his canvases have become somewhat of a trope, Bas’s compositions nonetheless arise from obsessive research and idiosyncratic material experimentation, as well as a seriously funny sense of humor....

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