So who are these natty Brits who deserve a career retrospective before they’re even dead?
The artists Gilbert Proesch and George Passmore met at a London art school in the 1960s and have lived and worked together ever since in the East End, considering themselves as a single “artist” rather than two individuals, “living sculptures” instead of human beings.
Beginning with the proletarian slogan, “Art for All,” they have gone on to create massive photomontages in color and black-and-white. Their themes cover raw human emotion, religion, sexuality, AIDS-related loss, terrorism, life and death.
Virtually all of the images they use are obtained within walking distance of their London home.
As a result, they did not make any new art while they were here in Brooklyn — “We never make art in another city,” Proesch said — but quickly expressed affinity for the borough.
“When we first came in 1971, we asked cab drivers to take us to Brooklyn, and they said” — and here, Proesch affected an American accent — “‘Why would you want to go there?’” he reminisced. “But we love it, it’s like where we live in East London.”