Tag Archives: gay

EXHIBITION: Keep Your Timber Limber (ICA)

24 Aug

• Explores how artists since the 19040’s 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, censorship and race.
• The works can all be viewed as being in some way transgressive.
• Using traditional and commercial drawing techniques to challenge specific social, political or stylistic conventions.
• Could be retitled ‘The Penis Exhibition’ because there are that many drawings of dicks.
Works that stood out for me:

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• JUDITH BERNSTEIN
• Sexual violence and acts of war
• Male power
• Pop art and abstract expressionism (historically dominated by male artists).
• Vietnam war
• Against the decisions made predominantly by men on behalf of society

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• CARY KWOK
• Studied fashion
• Beautifully detailed, delicate ballpoint drawings
• Men at the moment of ejaculation (revealing a moment historically associated with defencelessness and weakness)
• Religious figures (universal, regardless of faith)

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• TOM OF FINLAND (aka Touko Laaksonen)
• In opposition to the dominant image of the homosexual in the 1950’s
• Adopted the tougher image (the rebel of the time, the biker)
• First artist to depict ha homosexual man as happy, healthy and masculine.
• Establishing the gay man not as a pervert, but as a joyful person.
• Sometimes with the message ‘Clothed is sexy’
• These images were so popular that the images and ideas that they depict have become somewhat of a cliché

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Loved the little book shop at the ICA. Found about 10 books of interest that I will try and find in the UAL libraries (or add to my Christmas wish list 😛 )

MARY COBLE

11 Nov

‘Blood Script’ 2008

• A live performance piece that took place at the PULSE Art Fair at Pier 40 in New York.
• A list of over 200 hateful words and phrases previously given to her by viewers
• The artist had 75 of the most common words tattooed onto her skin, without ink, in a very ornate script.
• Created a dichotomy between the beautiful visual form of the words and the ugly meanings they convey semantically.
• Contact prints were made of each word by immediately pressing watercolour paper against the fresh incisions.

‘Note to Self’ 2005

• A twelve hour performance where the names of 438 gay, lesbian, bi and transgender individuals who were murdered due to hate crimes, were tattooed onto the artist’s body, (using no ink).

‘Binding Ritual, Daily Routine’ 2005

• A live performance that took place at Artists Space in New York
• The artist repeatedly taped and untaped her breast with duct-tape for over ninety minutes.
• This piece speaks to the emotional and physical pain that many transgender people may feel on a daily basis.
• For Female to Male transgender individuals, who may bind daily, want to be perceived as having no breast at all. To bind that tightly can be not only extremely physically painful but can be mentally trying as well.
• The artist wanted to create a physical manifestation of the mental space where she imagines transgender individuals silently suffer, while shortening a lifetime into a few hours.

‘Aversion’ 2007

• A live performance piece performance that took place at Conner Contemporary Art in Washington, DC.
• The artist attached electrodes to her arm and had herself shocked, with an electric shock device, to recreate the severe effects of electric shock aversion therapy that was once commonly used to “cure” homosexuality.
• Patients were subjected to repeated sessions during which they were shown a series of erotic images. Where as opposite-sex images elicited no negative stimulation, shock was administered in conjunction with same-sex images.
• The performance lasted thirty minutes, which was the length of an actual shock therapy session.
• The artist wanted to not only call attention to a practice that many did not even know existed. The piece also points to continued social pressures towards conformity, which perpetuates the advocacy of reorientation therapy for homosexuals by extremist organizations today.