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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Gay Art Comes Out at the National Portrait Gallery

Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture was on exhibit at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D. C., earlier this year.  Here's an overview:

From the description at the Smithsonian website:
This is the first major museum exhibition to focus on sexual difference in the making of modern American portraiture. “Hide/Seek” considers such themes as the role of sexual difference in depicting modern America; how artists explored the fluidity of sexuality and gender; how major themes in modern art—especially abstraction—were influenced by social marginalization; and how art reflected society’s evolving and changing attitudes toward sexuality, desire, and romantic attachment.

The exhibition begins with late nineteenth-century works by Thomas Eakins and John Singer Sargent and charts the twentieth century with major works by such American masters such as Romaine Brooks, Marsden Hartley, and Georgia O’Keeffe. The exhibition arcs through the postwar period with major paintings by Agnes Martin, David Hockney, Jasper Johns, and Andy Warhol. It continues through the end of the twentieth century with works by Keith Haring, AA Bronson, and Felix Gonzalez-Torres about life, love and death during the AIDS crisis, and charts the vigorous reassertion of lesbian and gay civil rights in the twenty-first.

Jonathan David Katz, co-curator of the exhibit, continued the discussion with a focus on one particular work that your Head Trucker likes a lot: Paul Cadmus's 1947 painting, What I Believe:

Just one more: your Head Trucker thinks you will like another by Cadmus from 1931, Reclining Nude Reading Ulysses:

Sure works for me, how about you, boys?


David said...

The Corcoran had to remove The Fleet's In! when it was first exhibited, due to the public outcry over a painting of drunken sailors and a homosexual couple. And where did it end up? The Navy Art Gallery. Heh.

Davis said...

I hope to get down to DC to see the show. Knowing a great deal about these artists, it will be interesting to see the works hanging together.

Russ Manley said...

Which gives a whole new meaning to
"how's it hanging?"


Davis said...

Or as an old lesbian i knew said "How's your hammer hang'n honey?"

Russ Manley said...


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