Art: Don Shearer’s Allout Shelter: Iconic Works Show at Studio Kanter Gallery

Developing the art scene in South Beach in the height of the early 1990s AIDS epidemic, Miami-based artist Don Shearer was studying the text A Course in Miracles- concentrating on the power of love versus the illusion of fear. This concept drove him to create three iconic pieces that are the feature of an exhibition, Allout Shelter: Iconic Works Show at Studio Kanter Gallery.

The Positive Heart was painted using blood from an anonymous donor on Valentine’s Day in 1990 as a symbol of love and hope at the height of the AIDS epidemic. “The heart painting is all about believing in the positive. Amazing things have happened since I made that painting,” says the artist. In a November 4, 1992 PAGE SIX article the piece was recognized as being the first work painted with HIV positive blood.

The next work, Shearer’s Allout Shelter, was derived from using the obsolete fallout shelter signs in 1993. Wherever the sign is posted, that place is a safe place where one can be oneself, or in a gay terminology be “out”. The sign was reproduced and widely distributed on posters and stickers during New York’s gay pride parade in 1995.

Our flag is flown upside down when, as a country, we are under siege or in times of distress. When we look at things in a new perspective, our perception shifts. This is when a personal miracle takes place. Reading A Course in Miracles, Don came across a line that read, “When we choose love, love is all we see.” “I saw hearts between the stars- the symbol of love represents not only the souls lost, but the souls and strength of each survivor in this great nation.”

After a fifteen-year dormancy, Allout Shelter, The Positive Heart, and Allegiance to Love are being displayed commemoratively in conjunction with Wilton Manor’s Stonewall event in acknowledgement that Allout Shelter is Shearer’s response to the Stonewall Riots.

Wanting to show the works in the same fashion as their inaugural show, the artist transformed Studio Kanter Gallery into a dark space with just the three pieces dimly lit and verses from his favorite music pertaining to the pieces blasting through the gallery. This is meant to take away from the equation of socializing with one another in the space so that each individual has a personal and emotional connection to the work. Still leaving space to congregate though, the reception takes place in the back of house dimly lit with candles and two of his original glass paintings from his portfolio.

Studio Kanter is a family owned and operated gallery opened in memory of M.D. Kanter. Located on 25 NW 7 Avenue of the Arts, it offers a very unique experience for an art show. Working with the artist on a collaborative space, each event is meant to engage its viewers with the work so that they leave with a lasting impression.

Allout Shelter: Iconic Works Show will run through July 16th, 2013. Gallery hours are Tuesdays-Saturdays, 12-7pm or by appointment. For additional information please contact Adrienne Kanter at 305.790.5167 or Eric Kerl at 305.987.6357.


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