Hollywood’s AC Gallery (1546 N Highland Ave., Los Angeles) latest exhibit is “HOMAGE: The Tab Hunter Paintings,” a solo exhibition by artist/video director, Vance Lorenzini. Many of his creations offer fascinating insight into the life of the much loved actor/singer. Hosted by Hunter’s life partner of three decades, Allan Glaser, this is the very first public event to memorialize him.
Known for movies like “Battle Cry,” “The Burning Hills” and “Damn Yankees,” Hunter died earlier this year, at the age of 86.
Hunter, whose real name was Arthur Gelien, was gay but kept that away from the public eye for most of his professional life. He came out in his 2005 memoir, “Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star.”
Lorenzini will unveil close to 20 life-size images of Hunter at the exhibit. The much-loved actor’s memorial service was held in July during a private ceremony near his home in Montecito. Lorenzini’s paintings were first displayed there.
“I painted these portraits four years prior to Tab’s unexpected passing,” said Lorenzini. “This series has never left my studio – it’s unseen work.”
At the memorial, the crowd responded with cheers, applause, tears and heartfelt appreciation while the gathering viewed his paintings. “It was a very special moment that I will never forget.”
Lorenzini is thrilled to share Tab’s legacy to the public. “This show will make you feel good and celebrate Tab’s amazingly brilliant career. Glaser has been so generous to share his vast collection of Tab Hunter documentation and wonderful research. His creative support has been amazing.”
There are many highlights in the exhibit. “I believe the Cowboy paintings – silver, black and pink are extremely important and significant,” noted Lorenzini. “Very strong and visually arresting. Repeating the image and a bit larger in scale.”
Lorenzini is an American West Coast artist who works with pop culture themes. His work examines the relationship between artistic expression, cinematic images, celebrities, culture, advertisement, branding and related musical themes.
He produced and designed numerous music videos and television commercials as well as several feature films and TV projects, creating music videos for artists such as Madonna, Kanye West, Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez, Elton John, Prince, Snoop Dogg, Eminem and Dr. Dre. Just before his passing, Hunter had been working on a Paramount Pictures biopic with gay actor/producer Zachary Quinto, about Anthony Perkins, called “Tab & Tony.”
“It’s really motivating for me to feel like I want to honor his legacy,” Quinto told Variety. “It was so meaningful that he was a part of the process up until his death and provided first hand, unique, and otherwise irretrievable access to that time and that journey that he had. I feel like I’m just more committed now than ever to telling his story and celebrating his legacy and honoring his contribution to the industry.”
“Losing him was a real tragedy, in some ways personally, because he was such a vital and loving person,” Quinto continued. “He lived an amazing life, and I was just with him a few weeks ago. So there was a shock factor in his death just because he was so energetic, and he just seemed the picture of health.”