Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ramblings About Slava Mogutin, Brian Kenny, and Superm

I'm back to art, specifically gay male art, and this entry has expanded exponentially during the past five days. So, it will be made in two installments.

Found Mogutin (1974) through culturekiosque. Mogutin and Kenny are part of a punk-gay-bad-boi’s-underground, except that they and friends do multimedia worldwide. So, it’s an international gay bad boi’s underground that has sponsors including international festivals, museums and other patrons. Mogutin works with German born American Artist (Armed Services Brat) Brian Kenny (1982) in a collaboration they call Superm. They also collaborate more and more with many other artists of the same genre. So this is all about the young gay male body in the first decade of the 21st Century.
Slava Mogutin was kicked out of Russia at age 21 because of his gay / queer writing and activism against the establishment, and according to one source he hates establishment gays in this country (ouch!). Early artwork was photography.

First, the notion of the body comes by way of Michel Foucault via the Feminist movement (Simon de Beauvoir , Luce Irigaray and so many others it is impossible to cover them here). Sufice it to say that it involves a conceptualization of the body, which is not owned by the individual. Rather it is an outside creation based in the culture(s) in which individuals find themselves. So, what is the young gay male body? It is not the gay male physique though that is one component. In fact, the gay male body fascism that surrounds us has forced on us all, a concept of gay male physicality that is ubiquitous and out of reach for most of us. The phrase “gay male body” presupposes a cultural formation, an abstract of gay maleness in the world sort of like the modern conceptualization of “mankind,” except that the gay male body has been commodified and, of course “mankind” is so much broader as to almost defy the comparison (h-m-m-m-m-m!). We see evidence of the gay male abstract simulacrum in our diurnal existence. For instance, the idea that the five gay men in Queer Eye have something to teach the heterosexual male about how he should be living in the world is one small piece of it. Queer Eye is also evidence of the assumption that there is such a thing as a gay male aesthetic that includes the male body in general, and that aesthetic is also commodified. It is based in a conjecture that the individual gay male performs his identity through the acquisition and use of mass manufactured things, and it assumes the commodification of the male body itself.
Slava Mogutin and Brian Kenny glory in a late 1970’s to early 1980’s Raunchy New York City gay male scene, a notion of gay maleness that included Robert Mappplethorpe and is all but dead in the Twenty-first Century. I see no mention of AIDS, only an exaltation of testosterone, chemicals, body fluids, sex and burning the candle at both ends. I confess that I find the installations they create fascinating, if frightening, which would probably please them.

to be continued

Sources include

1. Michele Foucault, Discipline and Punish. Paris, Gallimard, 1977
2. Beauvoir, Simone de. The Second Sex. Translated and edited by H. M. Parshley. New York: Knopf, 1953.
3. Irigaray, Luce. Speculum of the Other Woman. Translated by Gillian C. Gill. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1985.
4. “Superm,” Widipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SUPERM. Viewed Thursday, viewed August 13, 2009 at 9:43 AM EDT. last modified June 23, 2009 at 3:15 GT.
5. Slava Mogutin’s Blog, https://www.blogger.com/blogin.g?blogspotURL=http%3A%2F%2Fslavamogutin.blogspot.com%2F, Viewed Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 8:35 A.M. EDT.
6. Travel Pick: Art and Archaeology in United States: The Male Gaze, at Culture Kiosk, TRAVEL CALENDAR, http://www.culturekiosque.com/travel/item11088.html. Viewed Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 9:45 A.M. EDT.
7. Brian Kenny’s Blog, http://briankenny.blogspot.com/. Viewed Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 10:00 A.M. EDT.

Notes on Images

*1 Black Pipe (Raoul), Hamburg, 2001, Slava Mogutin, http://www.slavamogutin.com/no_love/index.htm. Viewed 8:00 A.M. EDT, Monday, August 17, 2009.

*2 Imperial Powers, Berlin, 2007, Superm, http://www.slavamogutin.com/no_love/index.htm. Viewed 8:10 A.M. EDT, Monday, August 17, 2009.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

John, teaching in your room, :-) yes still your room always, and thinking of you, Happy Birthday dear friend, miss ya!