Robert Andy Coombs’ takes visitors to intersection of sexuality and disability

The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum FIU presents the premiere of Miami-based photographer Robert Andy Coombs’ first solo museum exhibition, “Robert Andy Coombs: Notions of Care.” Coombs personal narratives depicting the intimate details of his life will be on view until Sunday, Nov. 7. The photographs document his experiences at the intersection of sexuality and disability, which are rarely expressed publicly in contemporary visual culture.

Coombs describes his approach as unapologetic, presenting his own body boldly and confidently. The series presents selected works from Cripfag, Coombs’ photographic series that embraces and reclaims the epithets “crip” and “fag,” reimagining these words to produce a new context where personal and revealing moments are delicately laid bare. The exhibition visually demonstrates notions of care and tenderness while challenging preconceptions of disability and reveals an autobiographical narrative filled with both joy and the banal. Coombs brings visitors along to relate and revel in his journey.

“In sharing details of his personal life, Robert Andy Coombs brings needed perspective to contemporary art and to our popular consciousness,” Frost chief curator Amy Galpin siad. “These photographs offer an extraordinary opportunity to rethink the notion of care. It’s an honor to present Coombs’s first solo exhibition at a museum.”

Born in Michigan in 1987, the artist received his BFA from Kendall College of Art and Design and his MFA from Yale University.

“Robert Andy Coombs’ photography explores the nature of spiritual generosity using imagery that can, at first, feel provocative and edgy,” Frost Museum director Jordana Pomeroy said. “Upon closer inspection, Coombs’ work paints a picture about different narratives of love, which he tells boldly and tenderly. This exemplifies great photography—art that pushes, pulls, and inspires deep thought and dialogue, which is why we chose to feature him at the Frost Art Museum.”

The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum organized this exhibition to complement FIU’s Common Reading Program and First Year Experience course. This year, FIU’s incoming students read Sitting Pretty: The View from My Ordinary Resilient Disabled Body by Rebekah Taussig. The book depicts Taussig’s coming of age story, exploring her experiences with ableism and her relationships with family and friends. Taussig desired to create a text that details a nuanced depiction of her life to augment the dearth of disability representation in popular culture.

Roobert Andy Coombs, Sunset at Grand Haven Beach II, 2017, inkjet print on metallic paper, 40 x 60 inches; courtesy of the artist.
Roobert Andy Coombs, Sunset at Grand Haven Beach II, 2017, inkjet print on metallic paper, 40 x 60 inches; courtesy of the artist.

About the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum FIU

One of the largest art museums in Florida, the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum at Florida International University was founded in 1977 and is the Smithsonian Affiliate in Miami. The museum’s mission is three-fold: to be a campus resource for the entire FIU community; to offer interdisciplinary training in the arts for the next generation of artists and art historians; and to serve as a premier cultural destination for the residents of Miami, and visitors.

The Frost is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and is located on the FIU MMC Campus at 10975 SW 17 Street. Open Tuesday-Saturday 10:00 a.m.- 4:45 p.m., and Sunday noon-4:45 p.m. Closed on Mondays and most legal holidays. The Sculpture Park is open every day. Admission to the museum is always free. For more information, visit

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