From Antwaun Sargent’s article for The New York Times:
Like more established queer artists and their muses — Francis Bacon and George Dyer, Peter Hujar and David Wojnarowicz, Mickalene Thomas and Racquel Chevremont — these figure artists tend to sketch people they find attractive, often sharing the same models. MacConnell and Williams met in 2016 at the artist Mark Beard’s drawing salon, which now attracts a rotating cast of about 30 gay artists. “I support these younger artists any way I can,” says Beard, 62, who invites private collectors to purchase his protégés’ originals, and whose own works are in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Working under his own name — and as his mythic alter ego, Bruce Sargeant — his oil paintings place his subjects, such as those standing heroically in “Group of Men on the Beach,” in a turn-of-the-century setting, before the Stonewall riots, when queer men couldn’t openly be out or portrayed freely in art, clothed or not. These nudes “give gay people their history,” Beard says.