Alder & Co., 222 Main Street, Germantown NY 12526
Hours: Friday – Sunday 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Diagnosed in 1987 with HIV, Hugh Steers’ subject matter speaks to his experience of the devastation of the AIDS crisis. Ultimately succumbing to AIDS-related complications at the age of 32, Steers maintained a commitment to figuration throughout his short career. He once described his work as “allegorical realism” created "to draw the viewer in through the lure of a comfortingly recognizable style and then confront him with a subject matter of a challenging nature." At once surreal and political, Boxes (1990) presents a seated man wearing a paper bag over his head surrounded by empty, open packages. Grounded in the history of Western art, the billowing drapery that frames the tableau recalls the swagged material of Baroque and Neoclassical portraiture. Meanwhile, Steers' unseeing figure alludes to the willful blindness of the AIDS epidemic, the government's resistance to directly addressing the crisis, and the alienation of the disease's victims.