We wish we could travel to Stuttgart for Slava Mogutin’s new exhibition at Galerie Kernwine. But we did get a chance to see some of the polaroids that are making up all the rage.

POLAROID RAGE and BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL marks New York-based Russian-American artist Slava Mogutin second solo exhibition in Stuttgart following the success of Lost Boys in 2018. Siberian born Mogutin was exiled from Russia at the age of 21 for his outspoken queer writing and activism. A third-generation writer and self-taught journalist and photographer, he became the first Russian to be granted political asylum in the US on the grounds of homophobic persecution. Informed by his bicultural dissident and refugee experience, Mogutin’s work examines the notions of displacement and identity, pride and shame, devotion and disaffection, love, and hate. He’s the author of seven books of writings in Russian and three photography monographs published in the US.

POLAROID RAGE was shot over the past two years between New York, Los Angeles, and Berlin and features portraits and nudes of Mogutin’s fellow artists and personalities that include artist and musician Genesis P-Orridge, musician Jordan Hall of Boy Radio, performance artists Nile Harris and Latex Lucifer, porn stars Buck Angel and Sean Ford, artists Brian Kenny and Luke Abby, Durk Dehner of Tom of Finland Foundation, and Mogutin’s girlfriend and muse, trans artist and model Maxima Cortina. This series was presented for the first time in Berlin in March as part of Mogutin’s solo show that had to be cut short because of the COVID pandemic.

BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL was created in response to Black Lives Matter movement against police brutality and systemic racism in the US. The series title comes from a cultural movement that was started in the United States in the 1960s by African-Americans and later spread beyond the US. Over two decades of his artistic career, Mogutin put people of color front and center in his photography and this show presents a brief survey of this large body of work. It includes images from Mogutin’s books NYC Go-Go (2008) and Bros & Brosephines (2017), as well as his more recent personal projects and commission shoots.

Slava Mogutin POLAROID RAGE and BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL until 22 November 2020 at Galerie Kernweine in Stuttgart, Germany