Lonesome Cowboy, 1993
Daniel Mudie Cunningham, Lonesome Cowboy, 1993
Lonesome Cowboy is one of Daniel Mudie Cunningham's earliest works. These black-and-white photographs signal his ongoing enquiry into performance and portraiture, capturing Cunningham’s innocence and sexual discovery as a queer youth. Close-ups and details of various parts of Cunningham’s body appear simultaneously tender and intimate. 

The series was inspired by the homoerotic imagery in Andy Warhol’s film Lonesome Cowboys (1968), which Cunningham encountered only as reproductions in Peter Gidal’s 1971 book Andy Warhol: Films and Paintings. “It was as if my own conflicted and closeted homosexuality at the time these pictures were made,” Cunningham writes in 2023, “could only be expressed through an avant-garde art history imitation, which in this pre-internet world was known to me through reproduction over reality, silence over sound, stillness over motion.” 

Performing to camera became the foundation of Cunningham’s entire career as an artist. From representations of queerness available to him in pre-internet media, he learnt, necessarily, to derive and articulate representations of himself as a queer person. 

Lonesome Cowboy, 1993, printed 2023
Gelatin silver photographs, hand printed on resin-based paper
Camera: Traci Caines
20 units: 41.5  X 59.3 cm each, overall 208.5 cm x 237.5 x 4 cm
Edition of 3 + 1 AP
Solo exhibitions:
Are You There? Wollongong Art Gallery, 2023