Andrew Valko is interested in how theatres can create myths about American popular culture. The juxtaposition of reality and fantasy on screen creates new possibilities for ambiguous narrative that blurs the line between the two, which can itself be seen as a response to the social reality of present day life.
The painting The Romantic Lead from his ongoing Drive-in theatre series demonstrates the juxtaposition of reality and fantasy. It shows actor Rock Hudson who created a fantasy by portraying an unequivocally heterosexual, romantic lead screen image, while in reality (due to the times ) kept his homosexuality secret from the general public. He was one of the first celebrities with a public diagnosis of HIV, and this revelation had an immediate impact on the visibility of AIDS and on the funding of medical research related to the disease.
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