Sunday, September 18, 2016

Homoerotic Art: If it's a nude male figure does it automatically qualify?



I like looking at men and even more than that I like painting them.  I just relate better in some ways to the architecture of the male body which is often thick, meaty and sometimes a little stringy.  The bones and musculature of the male body appeals to me and I think I'm pretty good at portraying it's raw power.  I'm always on the lookout for other painters who do what I do however, I like paintings of men that are not analytical studies but frank explorations of male sensuality.

I suppose other painters who are like me are curious as to what their counterparts are doing in terms of the subject of homoerotic imagery about the male form.

The "Advocate" recently ran a slide show about this subject on their site.

ADVOCATE
"Homoerotic Art by Straight Artists"
By Christopher Harrity
http://www.advocate.com/art/2016/7/13/homoerotic-art-straight-artists

It made me think a little bit about what qualifies as erotic, let alone homoerotic.

For example, Caillebotte, I think is not so much erotic but just a pic or a semi nude man who has a nice body but no biggy for me.  This even includes this ass shot that could almost give one a tingle but I kinda feel like Caillebotte is weak.  I think in some ways it's even up tight and to much of a clear cut description of the male form but without that zing it needs to excite.  However, his floor scrapers kind of do have it for me.  They are work me and one can almost smell the sweat.


Now the George Bellows image is clearly of a tough street hustler.  It's a genre portrait and the rebellious and confrontational look at the viewer, coupled with the cock of the head and the bare chest put to mind a street hustler and the whole "amor vincet omnia" of the street hustlers that Caravaggio liked to use as models.  

 Also, "Stag at Sharkey's" is a hot painting because of the violence in the two men's connections.  The two Robert Mitchum style boxers are painted with super thick fluid paint the follows the slabs of muscle sliding under their flesh.  Even the gesture is almost a pernicious grappling rather than a slugfest.

Like the Bellow's hustler Hopper is a bit too young for me but unlike Bellows these figures are just a little too sanitary for my tastes.  A little too twink to get me overly excited, it's more of an Abercromby and Fitch world with the girl thrown in as the beard. 

I get it  that Thomas Hart Benton was an icon of masculinity and in this image he does look kind of hot  however, if you read some the things that he wrote about gay people in the 1950s and 1960s you realize he's such an ass hole that you really don't want to put them in this pantheon.  However, I guess everyone creates their own meaning from an image and if you disregard some of his homophobia this is a kind of beautiful image of a man at his peak.

Without going into a critique of each artist I think some of the ones in here are just meretricious pictures of nude men in locker rooms and things like that that I suppose if you want to  you can describe a homoerotic kind of content however  the bodies of the men are often drawn so  grossly and without a sense of male beauty that I see them as more satirical commentaries on the male form rather than something  that is erotic or homoerotic at all.

ADVOCATE
"Homoerotic Art by Straight Artists"
By Christopher Harrity
http://www.advocate.com/art/2016/7/13/homoerotic-art-straight-artists