2012-07-27 / Community

Gallery exhibit displays once-hidden art

Kennebunkport resident recreates Andy Warhol’s Silver Factory
By Amber Carter
Staff Writer


To recreate Andy Warhol’s famous Silver Factory in New York, Kym Lonergan and her crew covered the walls and poles in tinfoil. They hung a fan in a window, along with a banana, similar to Warhol’s work at the factory, said Lonergan. She said her Kymara Gallery is attempting to capture the era and setting for the show in order to make it real for the viewers. (Amber Carter photo) To recreate Andy Warhol’s famous Silver Factory in New York, Kym Lonergan and her crew covered the walls and poles in tinfoil. They hung a fan in a window, along with a banana, similar to Warhol’s work at the factory, said Lonergan. She said her Kymara Gallery is attempting to capture the era and setting for the show in order to make it real for the viewers. (Amber Carter photo) The late Andy Warhol, one of the most innovative artists of his generation, will have his work shown right here in Maine. His original sketches of gay lovers will be hung on a recreated backdrop of his famed New York Silver Factory.

The Kymara Gallery in Biddeford is looking to promote tolerance and education by bringing explicit gay and lesbian art to the front stage.

On Friday, July 27 the “Two Loves – Sex, Art and the Love I Dare Not Speak its Name,” will open at 2 Main St. from 7 to 10 p.m. It will run through Dec. 31.

The exhibit will feature gay and lesbian artists from 1650 to 2010. Along with Warhol will be the work of Keith Haring, Charles Gatewood and local artist Robert Richards.

Some of the work from the ‘60s and ‘70s started in the factories and abandoned piers of New York City, hidden from a world that didn’t accept its artists.

The art work is now hung in the open on the walls of Kymara Gallery. The art is graphic, but owner and curator Kym Lonergan, a Kennebunkport resident who started the gallery in 1985, is happy to bring the pieces to Biddeford.

The gallery began in a carriage house on a property owned by Lonergan’s parents in Kennebunkport. About five years ago she moved it to its current address.

“We are bringing it from New York to the closet of Biddeford, so people can learn their own history,” Lonergan said. “We don’t have anything like this up here. The gallery is very avant garde.”

The main purpose of the gallery and its shows is to promote tolerance and educate people in a safe environment. Despite the acceptance of gay people, some of the laws that target homosexuals are still in existence, just not enforced.

“Some of those laws are still on the books, like sodomy, they just don’t enforce them as thoroughly,” said Milo Rock, coowner of Kymara.

“Everything we do here is about human rights and honoring human sexuality,” Lonergan said. “It is historic to bring a show like this to Maine. To bring the history of the gay movement here. People need to be able to express who they are in a safe way. We are bringing art of a lifetime as education.”

The art in the show was created by artists who were unable to express themselves in the open because society taught them their lifestyle was wrong. One of the pieces is graffiti on a wall from an abandoned pier.

“This was the way they could express themselves because they couldn’t do it out in the open,” said Rock.

Lonergan agreed. “People think ‘Oh, in history, this didn’t exist’, she said. “But it did. It was just underground at the time. A lot of artists were gay or bisexual. But they were lumped into the same category as asexual.”

The gallery has featured shows with Warhol’s work in the past along with Gatewood and Maine artist Robert Indiana.

The gallery will be featuring work once owned by Charles Leslie and Fritz Lohman, who started the Leslie and Lohman Gay Art Foundation in 1990 as a nonprofit to provide a safe outlet for gay art to be displayed when it was so long denied by the mainstream, said Lonergan. About 25 years ago the men began buying gay art and would have shows in their basement.

After establishing the foundation they began supporting artists and, last year, their art collection was housed in the first gay and lesbian museum in the world.

“It (the museum) is chartered by the state of New York. They offer education, shows and live performances. They are moving at a fast pace to be the highest authority in the gay and lesbian world,” Lonergan said.

Lonergan met the men through an artist for whom she was commissioned to do a show. She was looking for a group she could volunteer time with and felt it this was perfect.

“When I saw what Leslie and Lohman was doing, I had been looking for a niche to volunteer in,” she said. “I was amazed at what they had accomplished. “I am now on their board of directors.”

Charles Leslie of Leslie and Lohman, along with people from the 1970s underground art scene, will attend the reception. Kymara wants to inspire the feeling of being in the era with the artists.

“We try to be historically correct,” Lonergan said. “We try to get people from these times to attend. It is hard for some, as they are getting on in years.”

Also at the opening there will be an “art dinner”, where those in attendance can eat and visit with artitsts and people from the museum.

“We are creating dishes with local ingredients and people can eat among the art,” Lonergan said.

For more information about the Kymara Gallery or the show call 286-7399 or email Kymara@kymara.com.

Staff Writer Amber Carter can be reached at 282-4337, ext. 233.

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