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Estate of Jimmy DeSana - Artists - PPOW

Smoke: Self-Portrait, 1985

Jimmy DeSana (1949-1990), a key figure in the New York downtown scene of the 1970s and 80s, created a body of photography that evinces a singular style typified by concealed figures, saturated colors, and surreal mise-en-scène, with subject matter that index the artist’s fascination with American suburbia and queer fetish subculture in equal measure. Throughout his career, DeSana seamlessly blended the tropes of fashion photography, camp sensibility, and experimental art, resulting in images that are simultaneously relatable in their use of quotidian settings, yet entirely otherworldly in their depiction. DeSana grew up in Atlanta, GA, and received his bachelor’s degree from the Georgia State University in 1972 before relocating to New York’s East Village in the early 1970s. Recent solo and two-person exhibitions include The Sodomite Invasion: Experimentation, Politics and Sexuality in the work of Jimmy DeSana and Marlon T. Riggs, Griffin Art Projects, Vancouver, Canada, 2020, and Remainders, Pioneer Works, Brooklyn, NY, 2016. DeSana’s work can be found in numerous public collections including the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY. A retrospective of DeSana’s work is now on view at the Brooklyn Museum, New York, through April 16, 2023, accompanied by a catalogue co-published by the Brooklyn Museum and DelMonico Books.

JIMMY DESANA

b. 1949, Detroit, MI
d. 1990, New York, NY

EDUCATION 

1972    Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA

SELECT SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2022
Jimmy DeSana: Submission, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY 

2019    
Jimmy DeSana and the Sex Appeal of the Inorganic, Amanda Wilkinson, London, United Kingdom

2017    
Jimmy De Sana: Late Work, Steven Kasher Gallery, New York, NY

2016    
xavierlaboulbenne, Berlin, DE
Still Lives: Jimmy DeSana and Hanna Liden, Salon 94, New York, NY
Jimmy DeSana, Wilkinson Gallery, London, United Kingdom
Jimmy DeSana: Remainders, Pioneer Works, Brooklyn, NY

2013    
Party Picks, Salon 94 Bowery, New York, NY

2009    
Wilkinson Gallery, London, United Kingdom

2008    
101 Nudes, Wilkinson Gallery, London, United Kingdom 

2007    
101 Nudes, White Columns, New York, NY

1997    
Selected Works 1979 – 1985, Pat Hearn Gallery, New York, NY

1995    
A Selected Survey of Photographs, 1970 – 1990, Pat Hearn Gallery, New York, NY

1989    
Galerie Jablonka, Cologne, Germany  

1988    
Pat Hearn Gallery, New York, NY

1987    
Pat Hearn Gallery, New York, NY

1986    
CCD, Düsseldorf, Denmark

1984    
Oggi Domanii, New York, NY
Oae Gallery, Minneapolis, MN

1983    
R. Appleton, Aspen, CO

1982    
Stefanotti/Bonlow, New York, NY

1981    
Galerie Jacques de Windt, Brussels, Belgium
Museum of the Twentieth Century, Vienna, Austria
CEPA Gallery, Buffalo, NY

1980    
Galleria Trisorio, Naples, Italy
Stefanotti, New York, NY

1979    
Stefanotti, New York, NY 

SELECT GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2022    
Somewhere Downtown, UCCA, Beijing, China
Jimmy Desana and Laurie Simmons: Double Trouble, Amanda Wilkinson Gallery, London, United Kingdom

2021    
Ray Johnson, David Zwirner, New York, NY

2020    
Radical Passivity: Politics of the Flesh, neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst, Berlin, Germany
Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago, MCA Chicago, IL
The Sodomite Invasion: Experimentation Politics and Sexuality in the work of Jimmy DeSana and Marlon T. Riggs, Griffin Art Projects, Vancouver, Canada  
All of Them Witches, Jeffrey Deitch, Los Angeles, CA

2019    
Maskulinitäten, Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne, Germany 
Kiss My Genders, Hayward Gallery, London, United Kingdom
Art after Stonewall, 1969 – 1989, Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, New York, NY
A Look Back: 50 Years After Stonewall, Fort Gansevoort, New York, NY
The Fabric of Felicity, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, Russia
Last Night I Wore A Costume, LX Arts, New York, NY
MOMA Reopening Exhibition, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY

2018    
DRAG: Self-portraits and Body Politics, HENI Project Space, London, United Kingdom

2016    
Gesture Play, Simone Subal Gallery, New York, NY
Performing for the Camera, Tate Modern, London, United Kingdom
The 1970s: The Blossoming of a Queer Enlightenment, The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, New York, NY

2015    
Greater New York, MoMA PS1, New York, NY
Walks and displacements, Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York, NY
The Downtown Decade: NYC 1975 – 1985, Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, New York, NY
Queer Fantasy, OHWOW Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

2014    
VICE Photo Show: Trompe-L’Oeil, Pioneer Works, Brooklyn, NY

2013    
DeSana Flavin, Home Alone 2 Gallery, New York, NY
Glam! The Performance of Style, Tate Liverpool, United Kingdom

2012    
This Will Have Been: Art, Love, & Politics in the 1980’s, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA

2010    
Off the Wall: Part 1 – Thirty Performative Actions, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY

2009    
Looking at Music: Side 2, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY

2008    
Eat the Document, curated by Dean Daderko, Larissa Goldston Gallery, New York, NY

2007    
Blow Both of Us, curated by Shannon Ebner and Adam Putnam, Participant Inc, New York, NY

2004    
East Village USA, organized by Dan Cameron, New Museum, New York, NY

2000    
Nocturnal Dream Show, Pat Hearn Gallery, New York, NY
Selections of Artist Names Beginning with ‘D’, Sandra Gehring Gallery, curated by Bob Nickas, New York, NY

1997    
Twenty Year Anniversary, Hal Bromm Gallery, New York, NY

1996    
100 Photographs, American Fine Arts Co., New York, NY
The Cool & The Crazy, Earl McGrath Gallery, New York, NY

1992    
Hollywood, Hollywood, Hollywood, Art Center College of Art & Design, Los Angeles, CA
The Sexual Self, Galerie Tanja Grunert, Cologne, Germany

1991    
The Interrupted Life, The New Museum, New York, NY
Simon Watson Gallery, New York NY

1990    
Photomodern: Issues in Photography, Atlanta, GA
Hollywoodland, fiction/non-fiction, New York, NY
Against Interpretation, CEPA Gallery, Buffalo, NY

1989    
Galerie Schurr, Stuttgart, Germany
Abstraction in Contemporary Photography, Hamilton College, Emerson Gallery, Clinton, NY
Double Take, Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati, OH
Erotophobia, Simon Watson Gallery, New York, NY
Assumed Identities, Zoe Gallery, Boston, MA
The Photography of Invention, American Pictures of the 1980s, National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.
Marta Cevera Gallery, New York, NY

1988    
Fred Dorfman Gallery, New York, NY
Fantasy or Reality, Salon des Artists, New York, NY
The Photo Ostensive, Jayne Baum Gallery, New York, NY

1987    
Poetic Injury, Alternative Museum, New York, NY

1986    
Staging the Self: Photography 1840 through 1985, National Portrait Gallery, London, United Kingdom

1985    
American Academy in Rome, Rome, Italy
Blow Up, Feature Inc, New York, NY
Psycho Pueblo, Vijande, Madrid, Spain

1984    
Bank of America Corporate Headquarters, San Francisco, CA
Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
Galarie Stampa, Basel, Switzerland
Lower East Side, Santa Barbara, CA
Nature Morte, New York, NY
The New Portraits, P.S. 1 Museum of Art, Long Island City, NY
Lower East Side, Artist Space, New York, NY

1983    
3-D, Castelli Graphics, New York, NY
Subculture, Group Material, New York, NY
Terminal Show, New York, NY
Franklin Furnace, New York, NY
State University of New York, Brockport, NY

1982    
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA
Grand Rapids Museum of Art, Grand Rapids, MI
Madison Arts Center, Madison, WI
New Figuration in America, Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI
Commodities Corporation Collection, Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Image Scavenger, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
New York State Museum, Albany, NY
Ronald Feldman Gallery, New York, NY
General Mills Corporate Headquarters, Minneapolis, MN

1981    
New York, New Wave, MOMA 1 Long Island City, NY
Kenneth Anger Retrospective, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Eight Contemporary Photographers, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Couches, Diamonds, and Pie, P.S. 1 Museum of Art, Long Island City, NY
Out Art, C.A.G.E., Cincinnati, OH
Pictures and Promises, The Kitchen, New York, NY
Love Is Blind, Castelli Graphics, New York, NY
Auto Portraits, Museum of Modern Art, Paris, France
Rutgers University, Rutgers, NJ

1980    
Movin’, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Times Square Show, New York, NY
Dubbed in Glamour, The Kitchen, New York, NY
The Animal Show, Stefanotti, New York, NY
Collaborative Projects Benefit, Brooke Alexander Gallery, New York, NY

1979    
Food and Pleasure, City Center, New York, NY
Floating Foundation of Photography Manifesto, New York, NY
Artist Postcard Show, Musee d’art Modern (Arc), Paris, France
Steffanotti, New York, NY

1978    
File 13, New York, NY
Batman Show, New York, NY
Income and Wealth, New York, NY
Punk Art Exhibition, Washington Project for the Arts, Washington D.C.

1977    
Image Bank Postcard Show, Vancouver, Canada

SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY

2016    
Schwendener, Martha. “Jimmy DeSana and Hanna Liden. ‘Still Lives.’” New York Times, June 17.
Hudson, Mark. “Performing for the Camera, Tate Modern, review: ‘an intriguing snapshot of performance art’.” The Telegraph, February 16.

2015    
Munro, Cait, Simmons, William J. “Jimmy DeSana.” Aperture, Spring 2015.

2013    
Rutland, Beau. “Jimmy DeSana.” ARTFORUM, October.
McCormick, Carlo. “Jimmy DeSana: Party Picks: 1975-1987.” Photograph, September.
“Purple Visual Essay.” Purple Fashion, Fall/ Winter 2013.
Johnson, Ken. “Jimmy DeSana: Party Picks.” New York Times, August.
McCormick, Carlo. “Party Picks: Estate of Jimmy DeSana.” Photograph, July 26.
“Jimmy DeSana.” New Yorker, July.
“Critics Picks.” Time Out New York, June.
“My DeSana.” NY Arts Magazine, June.
Sherwin, Skye. “In Pictures | Jimmy De Sana: Suburban Color Sex Pictures.” AnOther Magazine, May 3.
Spencer, Corinna. “Jimmy De Sana: Suburban Color Sex Pictures.” Garageland Magazine, May 1.
Peer, Brendan. “Jimmy De Sana: Suburban Color Sex Pictures.” Used Magazine, May 11.
“Jimmy De Sana at Wilkinson Gallery, London.” Aesthetica, May.
Brown, Mark. “Glam! When piggy met Ziggy: Tate Liverpool traces art of the early 70s.” The Guardian, February.
“Jimmy De Sana: In Memoriam.” Le Journal de la Photographie, February.
Searle, Adrian. “Glam! at Tate Liverpool: through a mirrorball darkly.” The Guardian, February.
Fateman, Johanna. “Discipline- The Lost Collaboration of Terence Sellers and Jimmy De Sana.” Apology, Winter.

2010    
Manfellotto, Michelle. “(SHE).” Nero Magazine, October.

2009    
Sherwin, Skye. “Pick of the Week.” The Guardian Guide, December.
Simmons, Laurie. A Magazine, curated by Prenzlouer Shoer, June.
Giddins, Tom. “Jimmy De Sana.” Dazed and Confused, June.

2008    
Williams, Gilda. “Jimmy De Sana.” Artforum, August.
Cotter, Holland. “Last Chance: Eat the Document.” The New York Times, February 22.
“Short List: Eat the Document.” The New Yorker, February 25.

2007    
McClemont, Doug. “Blow Both of Us at Participant Inc.” Daily Magazine, January 26.
Cornell, Lauren, “Blow Both of Us.” Time Out New York, No. 591, January, pp 25-31.

2004    
Smith, Roberta. “Looking Back at the Flurry on the Far Side.” The New York Times, December 10.
Deitcher, David. “Spiritual America: David Deitcher on pre- teenspirit (Popisms).” Artforum, October.

1995    
Bourdon, David. “Jimmy de Sana at Pat Hearn - Review of Exhibitions.” Art in America, November.
Hainly, Bruce. Artforum, No. 3, Vol. XXXIV, November, pp 90-91.
Eckoff, Sally. “Jimmy De Sana: A Selected Survey at Pat Hearn Gallery.” Time Out, October, pp 18-25.
Hagen, Charles. “The Provocative Work of an Abbreviated Life.” The New York Times, September 29.
Morin, France. The Interrupted Life. New York, The New Museum of Contemporary Art. Exhibition catalogue.

1991    
Adams, Brooks. “Grotesque Photography.” The Print Collector’s Newsletter, Vol. 6, January/February.
Grundberg, Andy. “Critic”s Choice.” The New York Times, January 4.

1990    
“Artistic Voices are Many.” The Atlanta Journal, September 15.
Simmons, Laurie, Journal of Contemporary Art, Spring/Summer.

1989    
G.Roger Denson, Arts, ‘The Mirroring Enigmas’, May.

1988    
Smith, P.C. Art in America, November.
Smith, Roberta. The New York Times, January 29.
Lathem, Alexis. 108 Review, January.

1986    
Cortez, Diego. Wolkenkratzer, September.

1985    
Pincus-Witten, R. Psycho Pueblo, November.

1983    
Cohen, Ronnie. Print Collector’s Newsletter, May.
Wanning, Virginia. Omni, March.
Moufarrege, Nick. Flash Art, January.
Cohen, Ronnie. Art News, January.

1982    
Lawson, Thomas. Artforum, December.
Ricard, Rene. Artforum, December.
Smith, Roberta.Village Voice, October.
Tatransky, Valentine. Arts, March.

1981    
Cohen, Ronnie. Artforum.
Bannon, Victor. Buffalo News, December.
Flood Richard. Artforum, Summer.
Tatransky, Valentine. Cover, Summer.
Tatransky, Valentine. Arts, June.
Grundberg, Andy. The New York Times, May.
Lifson, Ben. The Village Voice, May.
Rose, Frank. Esquire, April.
O’Brien, Glenn. Interview, April.
Smith, Roberta. Art in America, January.

1980    
Pincus-Witten, R. Arts, September.
Tatransky, Valentine. Art, February.
Tatransky, Valentine. Flash Art, February.

1979    
Robinson, Walter. Adix, October.

PUBLIC COLLECTIONS

Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin, OH
Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY
Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA
Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art, New York, NY
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY

Selected Works

Selected Works Thumbnails
Jimmy DeSana, Untitled, 1985

Jimmy DeSana
Untitled, 1985
vintage C-print
14 x 11 ins.
35.6 x 27.9 cm

Jimmy DeSana, Aluminum Foil #4, Self-Portrait, 1985

Jimmy DeSana
Aluminum Foil #4, Self-Portrait, 1985
vintage C-print
10 x 8 inches
25.4 x 20.3 cm

Jimmy DeSana, Cowboy Boots, 1984

Jimmy DeSana
Cowboy Boots, 1984
vintage C-print
19 × 12 3/4 ins.
48.3 × 32.4 cm

Jimmy DeSana, Party Picks, 1981

Jimmy DeSana
Party Picks, 1981
C-print
34 x 50 ins.
86.4 x 127 cm

Jimmy DeSana, Instant Camera, 1980

Jimmy DeSana
Instant Camera, 1980
vintage C-print
15 1/8 x 23 ins.
38.4 x 58.4 cm

Jimmy DeSana, Four Legs with Shoes, c. 1980

Jimmy DeSana
Four Legs with Shoes, c. 1980
vintage C-print
14 3/4 x 18 7/8 ins.
37.5 x 47.9 cm

Jimmy DeSana, William Burroughs, 1981

Jimmy DeSana
William Burroughs, 1981
C-print
20 x 13 1/2 ins.
50.8 x 34.3 cm

Jimmy DeSana, Submission (Panty Hose), 1979

Jimmy DeSana
Submission (Panty Hose), 1979
vintage black and white gelatin print
9 1/2 x 6 3/8 ins.
24.1 x 16.2 cm

Jimmy DeSana, Extension Cord, 1979

Jimmy DeSana
Extension Cord, 1979
vintage C-print
16 x 12 ins.
40.6 x 30.5 cm

Jimmy DeSana, Untitled, 1985

Jimmy DeSana
Untitled, 1985
vintage C-print
14 x 11 ins.
35.6 x 27.9 cm

Jimmy DeSana, Aluminum Foil #4, Self-Portrait, 1985

Jimmy DeSana
Aluminum Foil #4, Self-Portrait, 1985
vintage C-print
10 x 8 inches
25.4 x 20.3 cm

Jimmy DeSana, Cowboy Boots, 1984

Jimmy DeSana
Cowboy Boots, 1984
vintage C-print
19 × 12 3/4 ins.
48.3 × 32.4 cm

Jimmy DeSana, Party Picks, 1981

Jimmy DeSana
Party Picks, 1981
C-print
34 x 50 ins.
86.4 x 127 cm

Jimmy DeSana, Instant Camera, 1980

Jimmy DeSana
Instant Camera, 1980
vintage C-print
15 1/8 x 23 ins.
38.4 x 58.4 cm

Jimmy DeSana, Four Legs with Shoes, c. 1980

Jimmy DeSana
Four Legs with Shoes, c. 1980
vintage C-print
14 3/4 x 18 7/8 ins.
37.5 x 47.9 cm

Jimmy DeSana, William Burroughs, 1981

Jimmy DeSana
William Burroughs, 1981
C-print
20 x 13 1/2 ins.
50.8 x 34.3 cm

Jimmy DeSana, Submission (Panty Hose), 1979

Jimmy DeSana
Submission (Panty Hose), 1979
vintage black and white gelatin print
9 1/2 x 6 3/8 ins.
24.1 x 16.2 cm

Jimmy DeSana, Extension Cord, 1979

Jimmy DeSana
Extension Cord, 1979
vintage C-print
16 x 12 ins.
40.6 x 30.5 cm