Keith Mayerson

Gold James Dean

Dean has been a classic avatar for me for years, and I created this image on my 2004 birthday for fun and a personal way to commemorate the occasion. Dean was gay, or at least "Hollywood Bisexual", in that he was sugar-daddied into fame after being a would-be hustler, and continued to have documented relationships with other men behind the scenes throughout his short life. Inspired by other gay actor Montgomery Clift (and bisexual Brando), Dean brought a new sensitivity to the screen and to culture at large. The Rebel Without a Cause gave a voice for the first time to young America, still recovering after WWII and immersed in the conservative values of the 50's. But his spirit in the three movies he made gave generations an icon of speaking truth to power, with emotion and feeling of a method actor who would suture his own experience into his roles to give them amazing vitality, like I strive to do when using appropriation in my work, channeling something within to bring out to give life to a work—like the Expressionists before me.