The art of Eduardo Hernández Santos

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From the series Aproposito los flores.

In 1993 I made Homo-Ludens, which was the first homoerotic exhibition to take place in Cuban photography after the Revolution. This show was committed to a direct, frontal discourse, but very aesthetic. It was not intended to reflect great contradictions, but to propose to society that the male body was also an object to analyze, that it was a source of pleasure, and not only to women.

Cuban artist Eduardo Hernández Santos talking in 2016 about his career (here and here). In addition to straightforward photography, Santos favours collage as a technique, combining his own photographs with fragmented slogans and other imagery. The late date of the Homo-Ludens exhibition is a result of the slow evolution of attitudes towards sexuality in Cuban society. Fidel Castro regarded gay men as degenerates, a common sentiment in Communist circles in the 1960s, and one shared by many fascists. A striking thing about homosexuality is the way you can be despised by a wide variety of people who wouldn’t agree with each other about anything else.

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From the series Corpus Fragiles.

It’s tempting to wonder what Jean Genet would have thought about Santos’s photographs of male nudes with flowers. Genet used flowers for their symbolic qualities almost as much as Oscar Wilde, so even though it’s unwise to try and second-guess him I imagine he’d appreciate their use here.

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Untitled (2000).

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From the series Palabras.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The gay artists archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
The art of Gregorio Prieto, 1897–1992
Emil Cadoo

Weekend links 586

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Cover by Gordon Ertz for The Inland Printer, June 1916.

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Gene Szafran album covers

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Sibelius: 4 Legends From “The Kalevala”, Op. 22 (1968); Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Lukas Foss.

Gene Szafran (1941–2011) was an American artist who painted illustrations for magazines and provided cover art for many science-fiction paperbacks throughout the 1970s. He shared with fellow paperback artist Bob Pepper a parallel career producing album cover art for Elektra Records and Elektra’s subsidiary for classical recordings and contemporary composition, Nonesuch, the latter contributing to William S. Harvey’s policy of making classical albums look as vibrant and contemporary as their neighbours in the rock sphere. Bob Pepper’s album covers, however, tend to resemble his book covers whereas Szafran’s book covers are simpler in style than his album art which fills out the larger space in a post-psychedelic style that’s often very detailed and done in a variety of media. It took me a while to realise that I’d known Szafran’s name for a long time via his cover for Pictures At An Exhibition by Tomita, the art for which isn’t a painting but a relief sculpture of the head of Tomita-san. A similar use of three-dimensional elements occurs on other album covers, and extends to a form of collage in which painted backgrounds are overlaid with physical objects, a technique which became a common sight in the 1980s but which wasn’t common at all in the 1960s. There might have been more work like this but Szafran’s career was cut short by multiple sclerosis in the late 1970s. Glimmer Graphics has several pages dedicated to his life and art.

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The Ages Of Rock (1968) by Cy Coleman.

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John Cage: Concerto For Prepared Piano & Orchestra / Lukas Foss: Baroque Variations (1968).

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The Nonesuch Guide To Electronic Music (1968) by Paul Beaver & Bernard L. Krause.

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The Moray Eels Eat The Holy Modal Rounders (1968) by The Holy Modal Rounders.

Continue reading “Gene Szafran album covers”

Weekend links 580

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The Collective Lie We All Live By, a cut-paper collage by Allan Kausch from Maintenant 15, A Journal of Contemporary Dada Writing and Art.

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Time (1973) by David Bowie | Time (1976) by La Düsseldorf | Time (1992) by Lull

Weekend links 577

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Black Lake (1904) by Jan Preisler.

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• At The Paris Review: Paintings and collages by Eileen Agar (1899–1991).

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The Babel Tower Notice Board

Shaking Down The Tower Of Babel (1983) by Richard H. Kirk | Pärt: An Den Wassern Zu Babel (1991) by Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir conducted by Paul Hillier | The Black Meat (Deconstruction Of The Babel-Tower of Reason) (1994) by Automaton