MAYBE it does not indicate the arrival of a significant arts movement and maybe it is simply a symptom of another consumer-driven microtrend, but it would seem that something is afoot in the contemporary art world and it concerns what you could call, for lack of more comprehensive terminology, a burgeoning of gay male art.
You can place it at creating a splash in the sales booths replicating art fairs, or at Peres Projects in Los Angeles, or galleries like Daniel Reich or John Connelly Presents in Chelsea.
Even though there are some artists like Jack Pierson on view at the gallery in Brooklyn, most belong to a generation born in the'80s and too young to have experienced AIDS' brunt or the identity politics of that era. Gayness has been, experienced by many, as was noted by others earlier as a compromised condition. Thus they seem to have skipped past self-acceptance and the hoary dramas of the cupboard, and moved directly to forms of expression that are frank, exuberant, celebratory, bawdy and not infrequently marked by the spirit of juvenilia the (heterosexual) photographer and filmmaker Larry Clark has been mining for ages.
"The art we are showing," said Nicholas Weist, the curator of"The Male Gaze," an assembly of over 20 largely young gay artists, among them such collectors' darlings as Christian Holstad, Scott Hug and Michael Magnan,"argues for a new type of alternativism that reacts against the mainstream of the culture." Not surprisingly, that includes.
No single art show is a Stonewall, naturally, and this scene is equivalent to a battle for the cultural ramparts. Yet there are signs that something livelier is at play than some shows in a select group of galleries.
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The most persuasive evidence of this may be the harvest of gay art books that line the shelves in outposts of culture such as the Printed Matter artists' bookstore on 10th Avenue.
; a spray-painted, and Daddy, limited edition production that comes vacuum-packed and with a stylishly tattered customized T-shirt attached.
CreditCourtesy powerHouse Arena
There are many others, from Sweden, Poland and Germany and also hipster outposts throughout Canada and the United States. One would list all of them if some titles weren't too outright raunchy to be published here.
Although the images they are sexually frank this isn't to say the magazines are pornographic. They, like a lot of the gay art being made -- and so much art and music and culture of all types -- seem to hybridize a generalized fetish for youth culture, for self-exposure, for the small and the romantic and apolitical. They are as whimsical as among the tunes of the neo-hippie Devendra Banhart. They've a proudly aura, but these days, what, does not?
All of the magazines are brand new, which is to say that their issues were created within the last year. And, just as important, said Mr. Bronson, many are among the top sellers among the tens of thousands of names Printed Matter displays.
"I'm not sure if I'd say what is happening is a motion or a moment," said Vince Aletti, an independent curator and photography critic for The New Yorker, referring to the most recent iteration of gay culture. No one does.
Yet, as David Rimanelli, an art critic and longtime contributor to Artforum, stated,"There is this huge efflorescence of artists right now doing this sort of work." There are an awful lot of people, gay or homosexual paintings otherwise, '' he added,"making intimate, slightly obscure narratives," of the kind that artists like Mr. Hug and Mr. Magnan have turned into a minor industry with K48, their print magazine cooperation with other artists along this loosely federated circuit. Their publication is polished in its mixtape naïveté that every issue comes with an accompanying CD, a poster and, lately, a cover advertisement for Dior.
It is most likely an exaggeration to say that it began with Butt, yet it seems obvious that its aura of 1970s outsider culture and this gay zine with its trademark pink pages provided a template.
"I love Butt," said Bruce Hainley, a critic and curator who's the associate director of criticism and theory in the graduate program at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif..
However, nostalgia remains a strong running through the new gay male art scene, manifest as a longing for what, from a distance, resembles the utopian days of pre-AIDS and radical politics and sex that is unfettered.
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