The Multidimensional Michael Hainey


One day after work a week or so ago, I headed down to Thom Browne’s store on Hudson Street for the first time in my life. I never bothered to visit the boutique because I knew too well that I would never look even reasonably good in Mr. Browne’s clothing. What finally drew me to the stark mid-century space was a solo exhibition of artwork by Mr. Michael Hainey. The show, entitled Less Human/More Being, is the culmination of Hainey’s (who serves as deputy editor of GQ) development as a painter. He puts it best in a recent post on “I went through a long wrestling match with myself: You can’t paint. Who do you think you are? But I kept seeing my poem–“How I Learned to Pray”–as a painting. Finally one night I said, ‘Enough! This may be crazy, but I have to make this painting.’ I went out, bought the canvas and the paint, and locked the door. That was the beginning.”

The twenty-seven pieces on display speak to Michael’s creative talents as both a writer and an artist. Sometimes life requires what I like to call a nice dose of fuck it to do what you really want to do with your life. Cheers to Mr. Hainey for having the guts to go off on a limb and try something new. Consider me impressed.




More of the works can be seen via GQ here.

Less Human/ More Being | through November 30th at the Thom Browne store | 100 Hudson Street (Nr. Franklin Street)

photos: Elissa Wiehn / GQ

Comments on “The Multidimensional Michael Hainey

    L.A.S on November 11, 2009 2:19 AM:

    Extremely smart and talented individual…and damn funny to boot on the GQ podcasts.

    wayne pate on November 11, 2009 6:54 AM:

    Real natural talent here. I will surely put my eyeballs within viewing distance of these inspiring works. I’ll say it again, it’s post like this that make me check ACL first thing in the morning while I wait for the kettle to boil.

    awhite on November 11, 2009 9:52 AM:

    I’d love to see some more pics of the space.

    Jon on November 11, 2009 10:38 AM:

    One of the reasons Thom Browne put him there is because it’s good for him be friends with GQ. I can’t believe you buy these tricks (well, you are part of this business, as well…)

    Honestly, this is not bad, but I meet so many young, starving artists who are so much more talented than this. C’mon. You know it’s true, although you’ll probably say it is all in the eye of the beholder and such…

    sam on November 11, 2009 12:10 PM:

    so, jon, it’s thom browne’s responsibility to hire the most talented painter in the world for his shop? i mean, couldn’t it be his prerogative as to who he gets? business motivated or not – he can do what he damn well pleases. besides, they are good paintings.

    these style blog comments are going far beyond the “everybody’s a critic” realm into something far more delusional. it would appear everybody’s a business savvy propaganda spotting and destroying party pooper. even if there were 6% truth to the “secrets” you people reveal, it’s only an issue for other industry snobs to squabble about. as far as customers are concerned, they buy what they like/find beautiful/see as a quality product. you might as well be saying “hey look! they’re trying to get you to buy stuff!”


    Peter on November 11, 2009 2:01 PM:

    I’m curious about that series of bird silhouettes in that back room. Are they also part of Mr. Hainey’s show? Do you have a close up of these that you can post?

    Michael Williams on November 11, 2009 2:02 PM:

    Peter — the birds are one of his works. Click thru to the story and you can see a photo.

    Rico on November 11, 2009 2:47 PM:

    Kudos to anyone who takes the leap of putting self-expression into a public forum. So many people talk about what they want to do, or are going to do. 99% of people have a good idea every now and then, -but how many actually act on it? Plus, in Hainey’s case, he actually appears to have some innate ability.

    As far as Jon’s comment goes, it’s about who you know in any walk of life, and especially in the arts. I’m not passing judgment on that, but it is undeniable. Getting yourself “out there” is part of the artist’s job. I recently went to a talk by a notable art critic who said it best, “It’s not art until it is out in public.”

    Great post, Micheal. Thanks for keeping up such a great site.

    Strath on November 11, 2009 11:01 PM:

    It’s a cool story, and I don’t think it matters if connections got his foot (and possibly exposed ankle) in the door – it’s always inspiring to hear about someone branching out and trying something they’ve been thinking about doing. His work looks very nice, and seems perfect for the space.

    Jon on November 12, 2009 12:05 AM:

    Hey Sam, I agree that Mr. Browne can do what he damn well pleases. I did not say that he can’t. It’s a free country.

    And speaking of free country, Sam – it is also a free country for me to think what I damn please. No need to immediately judge me. I’m allowed to have an opinion even if you don’t ‘approve’ it. This is why the comments section is here.

    BTW, you post an angry comment, and then you write the word *sigh* to try to show that you don’t care. Strange.

    Michael on November 12, 2009 1:01 AM:

    [i]Sometimes life requires what I like to call a nice dose of fuck it to do what you really want to do with your life. [/i]

    Amen, brother.

    Nick on November 12, 2009 8:48 AM:

    Is the gray wall in the first photo translucent or reflective? I can’t figure out if it’s a polished stone or a scrim. Guessing stone, but I haven’t been in Thom Browne for the same reason as MW. Interesting effect.

    Jonas on November 13, 2009 9:59 AM:

    The wall is stone, and the clothes sit on chrome rolling racks on the walls with shoes under the hearth. It is honestly one of the oddest “stores” you will ever go in, but you find yourself wanting to pick up a little something to have a part of it,

    Carl on November 14, 2009 10:23 PM:

    Forgive me for being off topic, but can anyone tell me what the model/type/style is of the brass table/desk lamp? It looks a bit vintage. I have been looking for a lamp like this for years. It doesn’t help that I live in fly-over country.

    Glenn O'Brien on November 16, 2009 6:22 PM:

    Hainey is a great gentleman and a very talented man. Thom Browne showed his paintings because loves the work and he genuinely believes in it. It was his idea. Browne is certainly not sucking up to GQ, and it’s sad that cynics would assume that. Mr. Browne is a gutsy fellow who went up against the whole sartorial establishment and he changed the way the world dresses. He thinks for himself. As for Michael not only is he a painter of genuine interest but he’s also a fine poet. Should a poet be an editor at GQ or should he be driving a taxi to be more authentic? More being!

Comments are closed.