Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ramblings About Slava Mogutin, Brian Kenny, and Superm: Part II

I'm back to art, specifically gay male art, and this is the second entry about my two favorite gay bad boi artists.

As I look at Slava Mogutin’s and Brian Kenny’s works individually and as Superm, I am aware of a move to define what it is to be anti establishment, intellectual, anti-intellectual establishment, young, gay, and male, and to react to the commodified image of the modern gay male.*1 Do they wish to change that image? I know they’re angry- though I’m not sure that the anger is directed against this commodified gay male image. Instead, they seem to glory in their anger. Other times, they hate it, and obsess about it. I wonder if the idea is to be themselves, when possible apart from such a cultural entity or at least to stand beside it and watch it, to trash it and themselves, to bash it with sex, drugs, pain, pleasure, and ideas. In photographs of the two they appear to be mocking their own anger – their punk image.


Brian Kenny draws the male physique. So is he about the male physique?

Sometimes these guy’s artwork, their blogs, journals, writing seems to glory in the male physique, pornographic and otherwise.


Additionally Mogutin’s, Kenny’s and Superm artworks are not about the gay male body versus something else. The artwork is not an opposition to gay male art about the male physique. Instead the artwork is about the gay male artist’s interactions with the world around them including the political, social and the gay male obsession with the male physique. In fact, they may be reacting to a cultural perception of such. So, their work is not a Western binary thing. At times, I see a wish to separate themselves from any a priori assumption about what it is to be gay and male.



Love. What is that? Is it a cultural myth, a commodified, mangled and destroyed, impossible thing? Philosophically speaking, these guys think so, and to an extent they may be correct. Certainly I see a Hollywood version of the small town love connection, on the Hallmark Channel, and most of my gay male friends, if not coupled, busily look for their knight in shinning armor to ride in on that figurative white horse. However, photos of Slava and Brian together clearly demonstrate that they are a couple, and that they are happy together.
Superm Collages reminiscent of David Wajnarwicz – look like Brian Kenny’s work.
I’m blithering. Yes. Perhaps it is because this entire notion of a “gay male body” is such a complicated thing in the first place. Also, the idea that “Gay Male Art,” must be about the male physique is an absurd cultural notion based on the admitted gay male obsession with the male physique. So what! Is such an obsession any different from the heterosexual male obsession with and objectification of the female form? I think not.

So, after the above ramble, I’ve come to the most basic of conclusions that I like the artwork of Mogutin, Kenny, and Superm, and that it has a tangential relationship to my dithering. Also, the ramble has as much or more to do with my own quest concerning gay male art, physique, and body as it has to do with this fascinating, hot (and they know it) artist couple and their offspring, Superm.

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, 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,, 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,, Viewed Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 9:45 A.M. EDT
7. Brian Kenny’s Blog, Viewed Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 10:00 A.M. EDT.
8. *1 - Google Search Webpage - "commodified image of the modern gay male" Viewed 10:04 A.M., EDT, Sunday, August 23, 2009. I've included this page because there are several interesting locations including the following. First, My own Blog entry about the "Commodified Blog. Second, The pdf file "...defining the Metrosexual as a high-end consumer derived from..." includes the words "commodifying Queer." Third, "Pressing the Flesh: Sex, Body Image and the Gay Male, a doctoral dissertation project by Dr. Marcus Bunyan.


*2 Slava and Brian - Received in E-mail from Slava Mogutin, dated August 20, 2009.

*3 Brian Kenny, "Close Paint Yourself off a Short Pier," Brian Kenny at Blogspot, Viewed August 17, 2009 at 10:14 A.M. EDT.

*4 "Sputnik 3 Paintings," (with Gio Black Peter)Galleri, s.e.,Bergen, Norway, April 2008, Installation Overview. Viewed 10:51 A.M., EDT, August 23, 2009.

*5 Slava and Brian - From Slava Mogutin's Blog (I think) viewed 10:18 A.M., EDT, August 20, 2009.

*6 "Unruly Pigs" - Superm Collage from Slava Mogutin Website, Viewed August 17, 2009 at 9:39 A.M., EDT.

1 comment:

Diogo said...

thank you for your post... and notes... i love this artist, have you seen his last piece of work? it looks great on print