Early Christians fetishized personal affects - the toenail of a saint, a splinter from Christ’s cross - by placing them in elaborate reliquariues. Pilgrims would journey thousands of miles to be in the presence of these items which they believe possessed special powers. Daniel Goldstein’s “Icarian II/Incline” evokes Christendom’s most celebrated relic, the Shroud of Turin. A tanned hide livingly suspended in a felt-lined, copper-trimmed vitrine, the leather in Goldstein’s work bares the shadowy image of a body. But this leather is no burial cloth. The hides in Goldstein’s Icarian series are the well-worn leather covers of weight-lifting benches from a gym in San Francicso’s Castro district, an epicenter of the AIDS pandemic.
What is left behind was the subject of many works in Absence, Activism & the Body Politic, an art exhibition at New York City’s Fischbach Gallery which was curated by Joe Wolin as part of the recent Gay Games IV and Cultural Festival.