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Hot & cold

circa 1991


David McDiarmid


05 Sep 1952 – 25 May 1995

No image
  • Details

    circa 1991
    Media category
    Materials used
    collage on perspex and enamel paint on plywood
    145.4 x 123.5 cm
    Purchased with funds provided by the Patrick White Bequest 2021
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Estate of David McDiarmid/Copyright Agency
    Artist information
    David McDiarmid

    Works in the collection


  • About

    The work of David McDiarmid traverses the complex and overlapping histories of art, fashion, craft, gay liberation, music, sex, and identity politics. McDiarmid was an interdisciplinary artist who played a pivotal role in shaping Australian visual culture in the 1980s and 1990s. He was a dedicated gay liberation activist, and his personal politics were intertwined with his art. His work explored and celebrated his own sexual identity while scrutinising the stigmatisation of homosexuality.

    ‘Hot & cold’ is a collage made by David McDiarmid in the early 1990s. With insignia derived from the door of a male public restroom appearing alongside a photograph of a topless man wearing a bathroom tap on a chain as a necklace, this work evokes gay male cruising culture and the language of covert signs and symbols it relies on.

    The man that appears in this work is subversive Scottish dancer Michael Clark who emerged in the 1980s as a prodigy at London’s Royal Ballet School. Since then, Clark created original and cutting-edge dance with his performances characterised by a mixture of technical rigour intersecting with experimental elements of punk, Dada, pop and rock and often collaborating with artists such as Sarah Lucas and Leigh Bowery. McDiarmid took this image of Clark, a press portrait, from a street poster, and it would later become the backdrop for McDiarmid’s 1994 Leather aphorisms series in which the portrait of the dancer is overlaid with subversive text proclamations that carry the wit and emotive charge of McDiarmid’s most seminal works.

Other works by David McDiarmid

See all 18 works