Paul Anagnostopoulos

Artist Profile

Paul Anagnostopoulos

Paul Anagnostopoulos (b. 1991 Merrick, NY) is an artist whose paintings explore mythological desire and melancholy through contemporary queer narratives. He graduated with his MFA in Studio Art from CUNY Hunter College in 2023 and earned his BFA in Studio Art and Art History from New York University in 2013. Anagnostopoulos presented solo exhibitions at Dinner Gallery (New York, NY), Leslie-Lohman Project Space (New York, NY), and GoggleWorks Center for the Arts (Reading, Pennsylvania). His work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art Archives and Library, the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, and Yale University. Anagnostopoulos has participated in 10 acclaimed artist residencies in the states and abroad, most notably the Vermont Studio Center (Johnson, VT), the Wassaic Project (Wassaic, NY), and the Association of Icelandic Visual Artists (Reykjavík, Iceland). His work has been featured in Hyperallergic, New American Paintings, Artnet News, and VICE. Anagnostopoulos is based in Queens, NY.



2023   MFA, Hunter College, New York, NY.
2013   BFA, New York University, New York, NY, Summa Cum Laude.


2022   Transfer My Tragedy, OCHI Projects, Online.
2022   When Heroes Fall, Dinner Gallery, New York, NY.
2020   We Can Be Heroes, Leslie-Lohman Project Space, New York, NY.
2020   Paul Anagnostopoulos, 405_Gallery, Online.
2018   Holding Out For A Hero, GoggleWorks Center for the Arts, Reading, PA.


2023   Estuary: MFA Thesis Exhibition, 205 Hudson Gallery, New York, NY.
2023   Reminisce, Hollis Taggart, New York, NY.
2023   The Four Horsemen, SPRING/BREAK Art Show, New York, NY.
2023   Who's To Say I Am Awake; Are You? Geary Contemporary, Millerton, NY.

2022   Exhibitionist, House of X, New York, NY.
2022   Graphite Stew, Upper Market Gallery, San Francisco, CA.
2022   Punta De Vista, Art at The Citadel, Miami, FL.

2021   Expanded Field, OCHI Aux, Los Angeles, CA.
2021   Ode to Green, Ortega y Gasset Projects, Brooklyn, NY.
2021   New Ideal, Rule Gallery, Denver, CO.
2021   QUE(e)RY, LatchKey Gallery, New York, NY.
2021   Beauty at the Swamp's Center, 205 Hudson Gallery, New York, NY.
2021   Set/Rise, Art at The Citadel, Miami, FL.
2021   New Visions, Vantage Art Projects, Online.
2021   Pride, Vermont Studio Center, Online.
2021   Heatwave, Dodomu Gallery, Online.
2021   Tom of Finland Art & Culture Festival 2021: Raw Anatomy, Tom of Finland Foundation, Online.
2021   Hellenic Art, Hellenic Museum of Michigan, Detroit, MI.
2021   The Era of Change, Visionary Projects, Online.

2020   Unnatural Intimacy, SPRING/BREAK Art Show, New York, NY.
2020   Keep for Old Memoirs, Young Space, Online.
2020   What is Fear?, Thessaloniki Queer Arts Festival, Online.
2020   Celestial Opera, Human Cathedrals, Paradice Palase, Online.
2020   Trust Fall, Hunter College MFA Program, Online.
2020   Unleashing Magic, Create! Magazine + PxP Contemporary, Online.
2020   Bull in a China Shop, Tchotchke Gallery, Online.
2020   The Quarantine Collection, Banditto Art + Dynamisk, Online.
2020   Fountain of Youth, Saint Maison Gallery, Online.
2020   Technicolor Heroes, temp.img, Online.
2020   That's How The Light Gets In, AucArt, Online.

2019   Ad Astra Per Aspera, The Wassaic Project, Wassaic, NY.
2019   Summer 2019, Boccara Art Brooklyn, Brooklyn, NY.
2019   RE: RE: RE: patterns, La Bodega Gallery, Brooklyn, NY.
2019   Chlorine Tidal Wave, Field Projects, New York, NY.
2019   WERQ, Cluster Gallery, Brooklyn, NY.


2018   The Maple Terrace Residency Program, Brooklyn, NY.
2017   Artist in Residence at the Hafnarborg Museum, Hafnarfjörður, Iceland.
2016   Painting Residency at Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT.
2016   Open Studio Residency at Brooklyn Art Space & Trestle Gallery, Brooklyn, NY.
2016   The Guanajuato Residency at the AIAR, Guanajuato, Mexico.
2016   The Wassaic Artist Residency at the Wassaic Project, Wassaic, NY.
2016   The SÍM Residency at the Association of Icelandic Artists, Reykjavík, Iceland.
2015   Copy Shop Residency at Endless Editions, New York, NY and The Gateway Project, Newark, NJ.
2014   The Akumal International Artist Residency (AIAR), Akumal, Mexico.
2014   Rancho Paradiso, Joshua Tree, CA.

Artist Statement:

Foundation of plenitude.
Rupture of plenitude.
Regeneration of fragments.

My work aggregates various histories, beliefs, and symbols translated across cultures as a way to explore Greco-Roman desire and melancholy. The oil and acrylic paintings serve as postcards from a timeless journey that may or may not have been experienced. These unclear memories invoke the rosy longing of nostalgia. In Sappho’s brilliant portmanteau, there is γλυκύπικρον (glukupikron), or sweet-bitter, to the works.

In the work, two opposing forces coexist: abundance and loss, pleasure and pain, love and agony. This carries through to my aesthetic decisions regarding depth and flatness. The picture plane’s surreal and contradicting layers of dimensionality create a vibration and a warmth. My palette operates similarly, and aims to seduce the viewer into an arduous account. The vibrant, sometimes gaudy, colors allude to kitsch and camp, allowing for moments of humor and melodrama to enter the work.

The paintings push back against homophobia by celebrating queer intimacy and storytelling. The scene’s players are lifted from ancient art, gay erotica, and life drawing. These historical and hyper masculine images are manipulated to appear sensitive and emotive. With a shifted focus towards adoration and tenderness, they remain suspended in a fantasy of fulfillment. Male imagery is also sourced from pornographic material of the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s—a moment when a powerful gay identity emerged in response to the beginnings of the AIDS crisis. By combining these visuals with ancient ones, I encourage viewers to meditate on queer history and focus on a neglected perspective. Each painting serves as a memorial to the members of these lost generations. I engage mythology, cultural motifs, and religious rituals rhizomatically, incorporating layers of significance on both universal and personal levels. Personal anecdotes regarding loss and rejection inform my process; I use mythic stories as vehicles for expression.

My process is a constant attempt to put the hypothetical broken vase back together again.


Can you discuss the use of landscape within your work?

I see each painting as a portal to a timeless realm, an exploration of a universal understanding of “paradise”. All of the landscapes are from my photos or drawings. I’ve had the chance to travel a ton thanks to many artist residencies over the years. I’ve developed connections to these places and deeply care about the time I spent there. Whether it be above the clouds in Maui, behind the waterfalls of Southern Iceland, or in the jungles of Riviera Maya- my environment strongly influences me and permeates into my paintings.

Can you speak about the role of geometry in your work?

With a lot of my recent works, I was thinking about breaking up the square and the rectangle. While preparing for a solo show at the Leslie-Lohman Project Space in Soho, a perfect square gallery space, I realized the space with my rectangular and square canvases was just too square. That led me to begin exploring circles, ovals, and triangles. Considering my love for ancient history and Renaissance painting, it made a lot of sense to start making tondos. 

Tell us about your process.

I typically work on three to four paintings at a time. When I get in the zone, bouncing between canvases I lose track of time. That meditative trance when time just sort of stops is my favorite part of painting. 

I do have a lot of plans for my work and everything is super regimented, but things change depending on how I respond to the painting in progress. I always start with drawings. I had a computer that was way too old to handle Photoshop so I did my own sort of bootleg Photoshop for a while, where I would just draw on different layers of tracing paper. I would have one layer for the figures, one layer for the florals, and so on. Everything was broken up into layers to figure out the composition. Then the final drawing would be based off of the final layering. If a flower didn't work, or if the figure didn't work with the sort of composition, that would be an easy way for me to switch it out before I commit to the painting.

My best ideas come to me when I'm not thinking about painting. I'll be in a museum, I'll be driving, I'll be out with friends, etc and I could see a certain image or see the way the light hits something and that will spark an idea. From there, I'll go through all of my saved references.  My work is heavily based in research. I'm very interested in ancient/classical history, the Renaissance, Medieval art, pretty much most of art history prior to our time. When I'm planning paintings in my sketchbook, they aren't so much about drawing, but more about writing. I'll do quick thumbnail drawings surrounded by words to begin building the image.

I pretty much save everything. I have books and books of plans for paintings that will go into larger or other works. They sometimes repeat when I'm really interested in a certain image or composition. I've mixed a bunch of swatches of colors that I like to use.  I write what paint combination it is on the back to build my whole library of color formulas. I'll usually start thinking about a painting in terms of a few colors. I pull from sunsets, closeups of flowers, or larger landscape photos that I've taken. I figure that if a palette works in nature, then it’s going to work in a painting. 

What are you working on now?

The big thing that I've been working towards this past year is a solo show with Dinner Gallery opening this September. One of the pieces I’m working on for that show is the biggest painting I've ever made; it has been really interesting and challenging to scale up and see how the work changes. I have a solo show that recently launched online with OCHI Projects in LA and am in a group exhibition of all graphite drawings with Upper Market Gallery in San Francisco. It's the first time I'm showing a drawing. Working with graphite was a way to explore luminosity and depth without the many variables color provides. I've been bringing that discovery into my painting; everything I do feeds back into what I'm working on. I'm also pretty busy with Hunter right now. Being past the halfway point of the MFA program, I'm starting to plan my thesis work.


Transfer My Tragedy, Ochi Projects, Online Solo, Apr 5 - May 10
Graphite Stew, Upper Market Gallery, San Francisco, CA, Apr 16 - May 14
Northeast Issue #152, New American Paintings, Print + Online
MFA Issue #153, New American Paintings, Print + Online
Out Magazine Feature, Online