thatcher keats x muddguts magnesium* dinner plates (*a cruelty free alternative to bone china)
Muddguts is pleased to present a collaboration with our good friend, New York-based photographer Thatcher Keats. Working within the 6x6 tradition of black and white photography, Keats is especially interested in the tragedy and humor of human bodies. With no formal education aside from high school coursework, Keats credits his grandfather’s photography shop and the Pentax K1000 that he hijacked from his brother as the formative elements that spurred his growth as an artist. At 19 Keats became a photo assistant to the notable surrealist photographer Arthur Tress, who he says taught him playfulness. Soon afterward, Keats began working with Rosalind Fox Solomon on her confrontational and historic series, Portraits in the Time of AIDS. It is Solomon, he says, who taught him about bravery. Later in the 80s, Keats began working as Larry Clark’s assistant (“It was dicks, needles, and guns all damn day,” he recalls). Keats credits Clark as the artist who taught him about a quality that he terms dark intimacy-- the balance of imposition and exposition that drive reciprocity and familiarity between photographer and subject. “You need to be there in it,” he insists. Among Keats’s formative influences is his former lover and good friend, Synn. In addition to teaching him the art of journaling, Synn— a nursing student at the height of their relationship— spawned the artist's interest in the human body. Their discussions about anatomical quirks and how they are used to identify anonymous cadavers served as the impetus behind Keats’s series, Identifying Marks. In this work, Keats uses with the physical quirks of friends and acquaintances-- among them, scars, webbed toes, and moles-- to convey the exquisite uncanniness of physical abnormality. The end result is a stunning meditation on corporeality, eroticism, and death. Each work possesses both a richness of texture and narrative, and can be viewed as part of it’s series as well as a stand alone photograph. Asshole plates featuring one of Keats’s most striking photos are on sale at Muddguts.com and at our storefront in East Williamsburg. They retail at $40 each, or $200 for a set of 6. The ultimate dinner party prop… You’d have to be a real asshole to miss out on these beautifully freaky keepsakes.