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Click here to view the event on the ONE Archives webpage.

ABOUT THE OPENING RECEPTION:

Please join us on Friday June 14 for an opening reception and program for Robert Andy Coombs: No Content Warning. Doors will open at 6 and remarks will begin at 6:30. ONE Archives Curator Alexis Bard Johnson will introduce the exhibition and art historian Cyle Metzger. Dr Metzger will present a visual history of disability in the U.S., identifying some of the social issues in Coombs’s work that have plagued disabled people since the 19th Century. He will chart a path through American art that will show how little has changed in the history of disability in the U.S., despite landmark legislation such as the Americans with Disabilities Act. His presentation will also demonstrate how important visual art has been to telling the stories of disabled people and how truncated those stories have been because they have come from non-disabled perspectives. Dr. Metzger’s presentation will be followed by a conversation between artist and scholar before taking questions from the audience. A small reception will follow with time to view the exhibition.

 

ABOUT THE EXHIBITION: (click here to view the information on the ONE Archives webpage)

ONE Archives at the USC Libraries presents a solo show of works by contemporary queer and disabled photographer, Robert Andy Coombs. The nine erotic and sultry photographs on view unapologetically present the vision of artist and often subject, Robert Andy Coombs. For some of the works, this will be the first time that they have been publicly exhibited. 

 

All the works on view are drawn from Coombs’s CripFag series, which has earned him praise from major voices in the art world, including Jerry Saltz who lauded: “His is among the most unshakable new work, by a new voice, I have come across in years. At the end of 2019, I included Coombs on a top-ten list of the year’s best; in the month since, I haven’t been able to get his work out of my head.” Despite this praise, Coombs has faced censorship by social media and the art world alike. Coombs watched this happen, and, in a 2024 social media post, he wrote: “I get it, I am not digestible to the general public and neither is my artwork.” Refusing to acquiesce to the general public even if he could, Coombs further wrote: “I didn’t get to choose any aspect of my disability, whereas society picks and chooses how, what, when, and who they want to interact with when it comes to disability. Wake up six, that’s not how life works.”

 

These nine works, selected from his CripFag series, invite the viewer into Coombs’s world: a world where disability and sex are not at odds. The photographs, luxuriously printed on metallic paper at a large scale, simultaneously convey compassion for the subjects while they demand the viewer’s attention. Many works chosen for this exhibition were censored from other institutions. Robert Andy Coombs: No Content Warning challenges prejudices about what is unmarketable or unpalatable. Here at ONE Archives, in the presence of diverse materials that explore all expressions of queer sexuality, these works are welcome and at home. 

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