Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Last evening, as I meandered through the cyber-void looking for possible Gay Art themes other than THE MALE BODY I was discouraged as I am so often because so much of gay male art is based on the male physique. Many times it might even be classified as semi or hard core porn. Granted, I am personally titillated by perfectly rendered drawings, paintings, and photographs of the male nude. I am also interested in artist’s depictions of such gay historic and religious themes as Ganymede, Saint Sebastian, and Achilles and Patroklos. However, there is more to life, even a gay male life, than art about the male body. Being gay and male affects the way I personally view and understand the world around me, and my own on line journal and ancillary links is an attempt to demonstrate that specific gay male worldview. In fact the absence of advertising in my journal is in part because I resent the commodification of the gay male in our culture. What am I talking about? I’m talking about the abundant soft porn images of handsome late teen and early twenties males in Calvin Kline, Guess, Abercrombie and Fitch, and Jockey magazine advertisements, billboards, and posters to mention but a few. I expect that my gay sensibilities are different than those of other gay men to an extent; though I’m sure a study of these should demonstrate shared areas by many of us. I also expect that gay male art should sometimes be about gay male sensibilities other than the shared interest in the male physique. Having said all that, I found a Website that looks at gay male art and makes an attempt at criticism including the use of a rating system for the art most of which is about the male body. The rating system appears to be based on the personal and makes no attempt at empiricism, which is according to cultural wisdom the most rational way to view all art. There are of course other ways; for instance through the lens of Art History or History sans Art, or the critical eye of Art Theory including all those interesting subdivisions of art appreciation; color, composition, theme, and so on. We might look at the criticism of Art itself as a category useful in understanding individual artworks. Any, or all of the above, including other vehicles not discussed here could be shuffled, assembled, or reassembled and used as a system for Art Criticism and/or rating art.
I did enjoy looking through the “Gay Art Blog,” and found most useful the section of links that includes gay male artists, art galleries and organizations. I also found one artist who particularly fascinated me, Scott G. Brooks. His illustrative works look as though they should be in a child’s storybook, though the subject matter is often about the human condition, and seldom gay male themed, but with bizarre darkly humorous surreal twists. Is Scott's art Gay? No. Does it have a sensibility that might be considered gay male? Perhaps, but here I'm speculating. I make no claims concerning the artist's sexuality. It is, however, interesting to note that the sensibilities of this artist's work landed that artwork in the "Gay Art Blog."
Regarless of all my ramblings here, I have bookmarked the “Gay Art Blog,” and I plan to consult it occasionally in the future when writing my own on line journal.