Weekend links 465

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The Star (1970) from The Aquarian Tarot by David Palladini.

• Artist David Palladini died in March but I only heard the news this week. His poster for Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu has been a favourite of mine ever since the film’s release, while some of his other works have featured here in the past. Still popular among Tarot users is the Aquarian Tarot (1970), a deck published a few years after Palladini had helped with the production of the Linweave Tarot. From the same period as the Aquarian deck is a set of Zodiac posters, all of which exhibit Palladini’s distinctive blend of Art Nouveau and Deco stylings. In addition to posters, Palladini produced book covers and illustrations, and even a few record covers. A book collecting all of this work would be very welcome.

Erotikus: A History of the Gay Movies (1974? 75? 78?): Fred Halsted presents a 90-minute history of American gay porn, from the earliest beefcake films to the hardcore of the 1970s, some of which Halsted also helped create. Related: Centurians of Rome [sic]: Ashley West and April Hall on the bank robber who made the most expensive gay porno of all time.

Peter Bradshaw reviews Too Old to Die Young, a Nicolas Winding Refn TV series described as “a supernatural noir”. Sign me up.

Naomi Wolf’s Outrages establishes the context for [John Addington] Symonds’s desperate efforts to justify his own sexual feelings. Since he was born in 1840, he was 15 when the first edition of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass appeared, the same year that legislation in Britain streamlined the laws against sodomy and ensured that men found guilty of it served long prison sentences. With intelligence and flair, Wolf uses the various responses to Whitman to show the levels of intense need in the decades after the publication of Leaves of Grass for images and books that would rescue homosexuality from increasing public disapproval.

Colm Tóibín reviews Outrages: Sex, Censorship and the Criminalisation of Love by Naomi Wolf

• Record label Dark Entries has discovered 40 more reels (!) of music by Patrick Cowley dating from 1974 to 1979.

• “Is Stockhausen’s Licht the most bonkers operatic spectacle ever?” asks Robert Barry.

• Sex, Spunk, Shoes and Sweet Satisfaction: A Q&A with artist Cary Kwok.

• Tripping his brains out: Eric Bulson on Michel Foucault and LSD.

• Paul O’Callaghan chooses 10 best Dennis Hopper performances.

• “More obscene than De Sade.” Luc Sante on the fotonovela.

• Karl Blossfeldt’s Urformen der Kunst (1928).

• The Strange World of…Gong

Neonlicht (1978) by Kraftwerk | Brüder Des Schattens, Söhne Des Lichtes (1978) by Popol Vuh | Lichtfest (2017) by ToiToiToi

Keep Your Timber Limber

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Untitled drawing by Tom of Finland.

Tom of Finland’s beefy clones arrive within cruising distance of Buckingham Palace this week as part of an exhibition of drawings at the ICA. Keep Your Timber Limber is subtitled Works on Paper, and features contributions from eight artists old and new: Judith Bernstein, Tom of Finland, George Grosz, Margaret Harrison, Mike Kuchar, Cary Kwok, Antonio Lopez and Marlene McCarty.

Keep Your Timber Limber (Works on Paper) explores how artists since the 1940s to the present day have used drawing to address ideas critical and current to their time, ranging from the politics of gender and sexuality, to feminist issues, war and censorship. Stretching from fashion to erotica, the works can all be viewed as being in some way transgressive, employing traditional and commercial drawing techniques to challenge specific social, political or stylistic conventions.

The piece below by Cary Kwok isn’t one of those on display; according to BUTT magazine he’ll be showing a new series of his Biro fantasias. All the more reason to get to the ICA if you can. The exhibition runs to September 8th, 2013.

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Pole Dance (2005) by Cary Kwok.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The gay artists archive

Seminal art and design

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Fountain (2011) by John Coulthart.

seminal, a. and n.

A. adj. Of or pertaining to seed; of the nature of seed.

1. a. Of or pertaining to the seed or semen of men and animals (applied Phys. and Anat. to structures adapted to contain or convey semen); of the nature of semen.

Oxford English Dictionary

The Dirty Comics exhibition curated by Jon Macy opens today in San Francisco so here at last is my non-comics contribution to Jon’s erotic art show. This is something I’d had in mind for a while so it was good to have the opportunity to actually tackle the thing, and also have an outlet for it outside this website. Below I explore some of the intent and inspiration which led to the piece.

Creating some sort of gay erotica was an idea I’d had in mind for a while but it suffered from the usual syndrome whereby work with no immediate outlet gets shunted aside by the pressure of paid commissions and ongoing personal projects. It’s also the case that pieces of work I create for myself I tend to want to sell or see reproduced via a service such as CafePress. The trouble is that most of those services are based in the US which means they’re subject to that tiresome puritan attitude towards sexual content: anything other than “artistic” nudity is forbidden at CafePress, and the same applies to many other self-publishing services. There are outlets for gay erotica but I’ve not had chance to explore the best options. If anyone has any tips then please leave a comment.

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This angel figure was something I’d drawn back to 2008 when I’d made a start on a similar work which fell by the wayside. One of the great things about computer graphics is being able to work on part of something which can then be picked up later and dropped into a new composition.

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So the intention was to produce a follow-up to the Dodgem Logic cover I created last year which presented a same-sex take on various Art Nouveau stylisations. The figures above are from one of the early drafts which takes a border design from Alphonse Mucha’s Documents Decoratifs (below), a series of sample borders and frames Mucha produced for the use of artists and designers.

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Two today

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Numeral by Erté. Via Fabulon.

In which { feuilleton } celebrates its second birthday. As always, it’s a surprise seeing what catches the attention of readers or random browsers. The five most popular posts from the past year were as follows:

The art of ejaculation. I saw Cary Kwok’s work mentioned in a gay magazine so followed it up on the web, whereupon it occurred to me that the male moment of climax was rarely depicted visually outside the world of porn. Hence a necessarily small list of all the examples I could think of which was then linked on a couple of popular sex-related sites.

Two guys kissing. My ungenerous reaction in May to the death of Jerry Falwell, using a splendidly erotic photo by Jack Slomovits. It’s mainly the title which attracts people, I think, some of the most popular search phrases bringing people here are “two guys kissing” or “two gays kissing”. One can only hope that the searchers aren’t disappointed.

The art of Takato Yamamoto. I’m surprised this has been so popular considering the artist isn’t very well-known. If I was a publisher I’d be arranging reprints of his books for Europe and the US.

Barney Bubbles: artist and designer. No surprise that this is still receiving attention seeing as it’s now linked on the Barney Bubbles Wikipedia page as well as a great many design blogs.

Neville Brody and Fetish Records. In a similar vein, one of my earliest posts is still very popular as well, possibly because there isn’t a good selection of Brody’s early album art anywhere else.

And since I started making static archive pages for some categories (for my convenience as much as that of readers), the Gay artists archive has proved very popular even though it’s not been there for long. That’s either an indicator of the readership demographic or evidence that people are more curious than they often let on.

Thanks again for reading!

John x

The art of ejaculation

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left: Sperman (2007) by Cary Kwok; right: Here Cums the Spider (2007) by Cary Kwok.

NSFW, as if you need to be told. It’s almost a commonplace of contemporary art that there are so many artists around today, producing such a volume of work, that any newcomer (as it were) has to find a niche and stay there if they want their efforts to stand out from the crowd. Cary Kwok’s niche seems to be the seminal emission which he depicts in a variety of ways, including showing various well-known comics characters shooting their respective loads. Kwok’s work has been shown recently at the Herald Street gallery, London, and Hard Hat, Geneva.

I like Kwok’s drawings, they’re carefully-done and funny, and serve to remind one that the cum shot is under-represented in art. Despite various Biblical prohibitions, women have been subject to no end of sexual display throughout art history, from copulations with gods in the form of animals to Danaë’s impregnation by Zeus as a literal golden shower. But male sexuality, especially at its most essential moment, has rarely been depicted outside the pages of pornography. The irony of this, as with arguments against erections in art, is that if it wasn’t for ejaculations we wouldn’t be here to discuss their pros and cons. Gay artists have been in the vanguard of addressing the sperm-drought, possibly because they have more than a passing interest in these matters; Michael Petry’s work earlier this year took a lateral view. There’s another sample (as it were) of Cary Kwok’s work below the fold plus some other seminal (as it were) artworks through the ages.

Update: Jack-Off Sculpture Sells For $15 Million.

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