Take a look at this art exhibit, and you might Blush, too.
“Blush: The Evolution of Innocence” is the title of one of the latest exhibits within Angels Nude, a Clearwater gentlemen’s club. Owned by Robbie De Zago, Angels Nude doubles as an art gallery and strip club—as De Zago sees both as expressions of art. “Fast forward and I’m 43 now, and I still look at it that way,” De Zago told Creative Loafing about how a strip tease is art.
In fact, it wasn’t until the pandemic threatened his gentlemen’s club that De Zago really blended his love of the two.
“We were shut down for the pandemic, which was awful,” De Zago told CL. “They shut us down halfway through the busiest part of my year, at the busiest time of that time of year.” He mentioned how tough it was for clubs—often due to their legally viewed sexually prurient nature—to receive pandemic financial aid. “There were five clubs in the entire country that got it,” says De Zago, “and it took a legal team to get it and a legal team to keep it.”
It wasn’t until an artist suggested De Zago use his club to house erotic art and social media enthusiastically reaffirmed that notion that De Zago turned art curator.
Several shows later and “Blush: The Evolution of Innocence” is being hosted this month at Angles Nude. And, if De Zago has his way—Angels Nude will be getting more injections of art. And the art isn’t just hung up to titillate. Part of the money from art sold goes to charity, in addition to paying out the artist and seller. It’s reflective of the renaissance feel De Zago wants to instill in his club.
“I’m trying to bring more to this place than just a gentlemen’s club,” says De Zago, per Creative Loafing. “Imagine the old French salons where artists and philosophers would get together and talk about ideas. I would love to have something like that on a Monday for a couple hours.”