Neal Baer Collection

Hugh Steers



Oil on gessoed paper

13 1/2 x 11 in (34.29 x 27.94 cm)

Image courtesy Alexander Gray Associates, New York © 2022 Estate of Hugh Steers / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Hugh Steers (1962–1995) was born in Washington, D.C., and studied painting at Yale University and Parsons School of Art and Design. Reach is emblematic of Steers’ figurative practice, portraying a whimsical and erotic performance in a bathroom, an interior space often depicted by Steers.  

Before his death at 32 from AIDS-related complications, Steers created allegorical works that related the emotional and political life as a gay man in New York in the 1980s and 90s. Embracing representational painting and figuration at a time when such approaches were considered unfashionable, his intimate compositions are poignant symbols of life under the specter of AIDS.  “In a real way those characters were Hugh’s constant companions,” the artist’s friend Julie Heffernan explains, “[a]vatars of love and friendship that every one of us needs in order to survive day-to-day.” 

Alexander Gray Associates

Other works by Hugh Steers
In the Closet (1987)

See also
Hugh Steers at Alexander Gray

Hugh Steers in the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art

Hugh Steers in the collection of the Walker Art Center

Hugh Steers in the Denver Art Museum

André Naquian-Wheeler, “This Artist Captured Queer Love During the AIDS epidemic,” June 28, 2018