“I am sorry to report that Garilyn Brune died today.” The email was from collector Michael Feder, who brought the West Hollywood artist’s work out of storage and into the world when he curated an exhibit at the former RTZvegas featuring illustrations of big, beautiful drag queens and full-figured, rouged and bejeweled women. Steeped in pomp and lipstick glory, and wrapped in furs and super-sized sexy, Brune’s women plastered the walls—cartoons of raunch and elegance, wit and glamour. More magnetic was the artist himself that night at the opening of The Big, Big World of Garilyn Brune; even though he was already ailing in health, Brune welcomed everyone at the exhibit’s opening with laughter and so much compassion that it only made sense this was the man celebrating the glory of being body-positive.
Feder brought his friend Brune to Las Vegas for that exhibit in 2013, the year before he died. Brune, 1995 winner of Tom of Finland Foundation’s Emerging Erotic Artist Contest, touched on a culture deemed unacceptable in his day. Fortunately, Feder brings Brune’s message of gender identity and physical acceptance once again to Las Vegas, this time at the Center.
The Big, Big World of Garilyn Brune July 23, 6 p.m., free. The Center, 401 S. Maryland Parkway, 702-733-9800.