Adorable Austria: Last year the Leopold Museum thought it would be totally fine to use this image as its poster on 250 billboards and bus shelters and subway platforms all over Vienna because the men aren't aroused. Nein, Wien! After scads of mad bad sadz they covered the lads' nads fast.
Alas, in discussing this image at Masculin / Masculin Musée d'Orsay's curators could only bring themselves to discuss Pierre et Gilles' feeling for postcolonialism.
You may have noticed Musée d'Orsay's Masculin / Masculin tilts toward French artists. The gay couple Pierre et Gilles have six works on display, including this picture of Mercury, which is the exhibit's poster image, and for which the explanatory wall text is completely inadequate. Discuss the central placement of his caressing, beckoning hand!
Study for the Death of Abel (2008) above is one of two paintings in Masculin / Masculin by Kehinde Wiley, the gay American artist who was born in 1977 and got his MFA from Yale in 2001. Known for supersized canvases, Wiley's work was collected in this book published last year by Rizzoli. I would say buy him now, before the Brooklyn Museum's solo show in 2015 sends his prices to crazytown, but you would have to live in an airport to hang his art. Click through the jump to see the scale.
As if you weren't already inclined to admire fishermen who practiced with their nets this way in 1868, the painter here, Frédéric Bazille, joined the Franco-Prussian War and died in battle at 28.
See more in the catalog Masculin / Masculin from Musée d'Orsay, which owns at least four Bazille canvases. Although this one lives in Zurich, other Bazilles can be found in Houston, Chicago, Minneapolis, and this busy swimming hole scene at the Fogg in Cambridge.
Jean-Baptiste Frédéric Desmarais' 1787 painting The Shepherd Paris in Masculin / Masculin at Musée d'Orsay.
So let's quell the complaints about Abercrombie creating the six-pack or inventing the culture of body fascism. Bruce Weber's photos continue an idealized, ripped line of beauty from the Greeks to the Renaissance to the Neoclassicists to Wilhelm von Gloeden to Art Deco to the nonstop parade of perfection launched by List and Lynes and boosted in a sexualized stratosphere by Bob Mizer and Tom of Finland, now at MOCA.
Because nothing said "gay novel" to art directors in the 90s like a naked man with his head on his knees, a spate of book jackets featured Hippolyte Flandrin's 1836 painting above from the Louvre or Wilhelm von Gloeden's photo homage Cain, Taormina, from 1913, but, so far, not Robert Mapplethorpe's Ajitto from 1981. All three images are on display in Masculin / Masculin at Musée d'Orsay. Now the tradition of signifying queerness with arty naked anguish is back, on the brand-new release of Glenway Wescott's gayest fiction, A Visit to Priapus and Other Stories [Kindle].
For the exhibit, I would have selected Flandrin's later, more interesting, and less despairing work, Polytès, Son of Priam, Observing the Movements of the Greeks, after the jump.
In honor of the queer experimental film fest MIX NYC 26 through Sunday, today's images from the Masculin / Masculin show at Musée d'Orsay come from James Bidgood's 1971 movie Pink Narcissus. Clips starring Bobby Kendall are projected above the exit of the exhibit. Bidgood's influence far exceeds the credit he receives, so get his Taschen book to see what he was doing decades before Cindy Sherman, David LaChapelle, Pierre et Gilles, et al.
Jean Cocteau's quick doodles have more truth about gay life than certain other artists' entire body of work. Musée d'Orsay's Masculin / Masculin includes five of his nude drawings but not his sketches of full-on sex like this or this.