Hold Up Art presents Fist Pump, a collection of new work from Los Angeles-based activist and street artist Homo Riot, whose highly charged, and sometimes sexually explicit imagery, became part of the city’s social landscape in response to the 2008 passing of Proposition 8 (a measure on the state ballot that overturned the California Supreme Court’s ruling that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry). Homo Riot’s message started out as a “fuck you” to the supporters of Prop 8, but has morphed into something larger and more profound. Seen now as an emblem of pride and strength to the gay community, Homo Riot’s work has become a line of communication to young gays who feel that they’ve been shunned by mainstream society and a call to action for silenced and closeted gays.
“The work in this show explores the dichotomy between the often hidden and dark realms of gay life and the simultaneous desire for visible exuberance,” says Homo Riot of Fist Pump. “In these pieces, the fusion of these disparate concepts leads to awkward explosions of ‘pride’ and naïve outbursts of youthful anger and rage.”
The exhibition at Hold Up Art follows the month-long Global Homo Riot, a subversive campaign throughout September with the goal to increase visibility of homosexual imagery, to spur conversation and awareness about issues facing homosexuals around the world, and to engender pride and hope in young gays. Artists from around the world have requested Global Homo Riot “kits,” which contain posters, stickers and stencils with instructions on how and where to apply the artwork to make a statement in their own communities.
Participants who registered for the Global Homo Riot campaign include artists from major metropolitan areas like New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Miami, as well as from smaller communities like New Haven, CT; Richmond, VA; Jacksonville, FL; San Jose, CA; Carmel, IN; and Rossford, OH. International participants have registered from Paris, London, Athens, Berlin, Sydney and Barcelona.
“Homo Riot elevates the street art game by combining his activism with his art,” says Hold Up Art curator Brian Lee. “There are thousands of people in LA alone that are pasting up posters, yet only a handful contain a message and meaning that is both self promoting while at the same time being socially and politically aware and engaging. Homo Riot’s work cannot be mistaken for another artist, and every one of his images confronts the viewer in a modern day western stand-off; a direct social and aesthetic conflict, and an open call to anyone who challenges.”
Homo Riot’s bold imagery and social message have established him as one of the most provocative and inspiring street artists in the United States.