Exploring Beauty and Hell With Gay Artists SUPERM

A new show from the two men behind SUPERM took their inspiration from "the first punk, a century before punk was invented."



Above: That's How We Roll


Your newest exhibit "Beauty and Hell" was inspired by Rimbaud. When did you discover Rimbaud and why is it relevant now?
Slava: Back in my early teenage years as a homeless poet in Moscow, I was often called “the Russian Rimbaud.” I couldn’t wish for a better comparison. Rimbaud reinvented the French literary language, expanded the limits of poetic expression and the very notion of what’s acceptable in the mainstream culture. He was essentially the first punk, a century before punk was invented. And it’s no coincidence that all my heroes, from Jean Genet to Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs and Patti Smith, name Rimbaud as their Godfather. It seems like his influence only multiplies with time, his apocalyptic visions grow stronger and more vivid, perfectly describing our world of perpetual war, capitalist greed, overindulgence, and universal anxieties about past, present and future. That’s why we chose to pay a humble tribute to this visionary with our new film and show.

Brian: Slava and I wanted to make a short film based on Rimbaud’s poetry and we couldn’t think of a better actor than French porn star and fashion icon Francois Sagat. We met Francois a couple of years ago during the New York premier of Bruce LaBruce’s latest movie LA Zombie. We became friends and when he came back to New York for his retrospective and master class at the Museum of Arts and Design, we filmed Beauty and Hell at our studio on 14th Street, with Francois reading Rimbaud’s poems "Being Beautious" and "Night in Hell." A hologram of a porn star, as Bruce LaBruce calls him, Francois was really professional and fun and easy to work with. He’s truly a great performer, especially outside of the porn settings, which most of his fans are used to. We purposely focused on his expressive face and beautiful voice, instead of his muscles or macho sex appeal.

Tags: Art