Sholem Krishtalka

Home: Toronto, Ontario
Title: Drella (What Alice Knows)
Media: Oil on canvas / huile sur toile
Dimensions: 183 x 122 cm

The working title of my current series of paintings is An Opera for Drella (after Lou Reed’s Songs for Drella). It is based on a bit of gossip that I came across in a Warhol biography: that Warhol wanted to befriend Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg (who were dating at the time), but Johns and Rauschenberg would have none of it, fearing that proximity to Warhol’s swishiness would reveal their homosexuality. I have created an opera out of this, a cycle of narrative paintings whose story of unrequited love unfolds as a series of tableaux and vignettes.

As with all of my paintings, I have cast my friends in all the roles, thus continuing my obsession with projecting my immediate circumstances and community onto larger events. This particular painting is intended as a kind of Dramatis Persona; it is part of a series of 3 portraits of the main characters of my opera: Drella, Jasper, and Bobby. These portraits are intended both as an introduction to the main players, and as a visual exploration of how I perceive and have constructed their characters. Each of the portraits borrows heavily from other work. In this case, it is inspired Alice Neel’s portrait of Andy Warhol.


M.F.A. in Visual Arts, York University (Toronto), 2006. Dissertation title: Songs of My Suse, or The Unbearable Wayne-ness of Being: An Opera in Three Acts, nominated for Thesis Prize.
B.F.A. in Painting and Drawing, Minor Art History, Concordia University (Montreal), 2001 (Graduated with Distinction).


2007 Wish You Were Here, Paul Petro Multiples and Small Works, Toronto.
2006 Idiot Sketches, Lennox Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto.
2004 Idiot Sketches (Queen Street), Zsa Zsa Gallery, Toronto.
2003 Iconophilia, Sis Boom Bah, Toronto.
2002 Penance, Lotus Eaters Gallery, Montreal.


2007 illustrator, “The Astounding Adventures of Strongman and Quickboy,” dir. Peter Kingstone, screening at the Inside Out Film Festival, Toronto.

2006 In Tents City, Edward Day Gallery, Toronto.; Remote Splendour, 64 Steps Gallery, Toronto.; Art @ Suite 500, TD Building, Toronto.

2005 Small Comets, 64 Steps Gallery, Toronto. ; Pot Modern, Zsa Zsa Gallery, Toronto. ; Imaging a Lover’s Discourse, Toronto Free Gallery, Toronto.


2007 “Neo Rauch,” C Magazine 93 (Spring 2007).; “The Wide Camp Sea, or Notes on Sontag,” published in the Spring 2007 issue of Forum, University of Edinburgh’s online journal.

2006-present Regular publications as the visual arts columnist for Xtra! Magazine.

2006 “Notes on Glad Day,” published as part of the catalogue to “(Mary Mary) Are These the Hands that Cut?” a programme of videos presented at MoCCA by the Pleasure Dome Collective.


“Savant.” Xtra! Magazine no. 560, p. 31 (April 13-26, 2006). (reproduction only)
Gary Michael Dault, “64 Steps Gallery – Small Comets.” The Globe and Mail p. R9
(Saturday, September 3, 2005).


Art @ Suite 500 purchase prize, 2006.
Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Award, 2005.
FRQSC (Fonds de Recherche Québécois en Société et Culture) grant (ranked 4th in Visual Arts category in the province of Quebec), 2004.