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First Look: Jose Luis Cortes's 'It Feels Like Love but It’s the Drugs’


The artist has curated an online exhibit of work devoted to queer sex and hard drugs

Jose Luis Cortes, by his own admission, likes it rough.

The Puerto-Rican American artist, who has been creating works inspired by the New York City gay scene for over two decades, writes, "Pain, pleasure, sex, beauty, drugs and love have always being intertwined within my essence" in his description for It Feels Like Love but It's the Drugs, the online web gallery he's curated for Visual AIDS.

The organization uses art to fight AIDS by provoking discussion and garnering support for HIV-positive artists and hosts a monthly online gallery. For the month of June, Cortes has arranged a slew of visually striking -- and emotionally jarring -- works, including "Toxie Junkie" by David Wojnarowicz (pictured above), Frederick Weston's Nobely Nude (19) and the shocking Self Portrait (Vile) by Jimmy De Sena.

Cortes's personal story and his descriptions of and commentary about the works add color and even more punch to the already stunning collection.

See It Feels Like Love but It's the Drugshere.

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