A Gay-Oriented Collection of Art Works, Literary Quotes, Songs, Films, Cubs, Otters, and Other Guys. Please be aware thet there is mature content on this blog. Information and links to sources will be provided unless unknown. Enjoy your visit.
This blog is a refugee and a survivor of the Great Tumblr Inquisition of December 17th, 2018. I am gay artist, who received training at the Rhode Island School of Design, and now, a retired high-end fine art framer living in Maryland, USA. My interests and studies in life run a wide gamut from art to history and from the scientific to the esoteric. I have been building this blog of images and texts for the last eight years. My wish is that my posts pique the interest of viewers and encourage them to experience more.
Born in Poland in 1984, Radek Husak ia a contemporary process-driven mixed-media artist whose works in the expanded field of print. He earned his Master of Fine Arts from the Royal College of Art and is currently based in London.
Through his research and experimentation, Husak developed a new approach to printmaking. He works with pigment transfers twinned with carbon-drawn elements that are either placed on paper or sandblasted aluminum panels. Blasting through the outer layer of aluminum reveals a reflective inner core upon which the pigment transfers are placed. These images are then embellished with paint, soft pastels, bodycolor, and carbon and color pencils.
Radek Husak’s work is inspired by art history, fashion, and queer theory. He combines the tradition of the nude with the large color-elements of 1950s and 1960s Pop Culture. Husak’s images, with their overlapping figurative forms, create in essence a static glitch. The edges of one body blurs and melts into the next, thereby creatingsense of movement. The resulting movement effect of these bold, modern images bring to mind the early movement studies by French scientist and photographer Étienne-Jules Marey, which he produced in the 1800s.
Husak creates works in the abstract form and constructs these images by taking elements of nature, such as skies, clouds and anatomical features, fragmenting and rearranging them to form flowing patterns. He also has produced figurative work in other mediums including ceramics and stained glass.
Radek Husak has shown his work in 2021 and 2011 at the Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair in London. The Grove Gallery and Quantus Gallery, both in London, are the venues for Husak’s first solo show, entitled “Duality” which is running from November 23 until December 22 in 2022.
Born in Chicago, Illinois in March of 1911, Edmund Rudolph Teske was an American photographer who along with his portraits produced a prolific volume of experimental photography. For him, photography was more than a way to record a specific moment in time; it was a way to explore the soul of his subjects. Although he was well known among other photographers and participated in many exhibitions, his work was not widely known among the general public.
The eldest son of three children born to Polish emigrant parents, Teske moved at the age of eight with his parents to Wisconsin. It was at this early age that he began to develop his interests in painting and poetry. When the family moved back to Chicago in 1921, Teske began to study music, lessons which concentrated on the piano and saxophone. Encouraged by his elementary school teacher, he began in 1923 to experiment in photography through the school’s facilities. By 1932 Teske was accomplished in the piano to such a degree that he became the protégé of concert pianist Ida Lustagarten.
Edmund Teske had his first solo exhibition of photographs at the Blackstone Theatre, now the Merie Reskin Theater, in the Loop community area of Chicago. In 1933, he began a career in photography working at a Chicago studio. Traveling to New York in 1936, Teske met and received encouragement in his work by American photographer and modern-art promoter Alfred Stieglitz. In the same year he had the opportunity to meet Frank Lloyd Wright at his studio in Wisconsin. At Wright’s invitation in 1938, Teske took up a fellowship in photography to be conducted at Taliesin, Wright’s personal estate in Wisconsin, where he documented Wright’s architectural projects and began experiments with his own photographic work.
Teske’s professional relationship with Wright enhanced his reputation and brought him into contact with such artists as Ansel Adams, portrait and architectural photographer Berenice Abbott and Hungarian constructivist photographer Lászió Moholy-Nagy. Teske taught briefly in the late 1930s with Moholy-Nagy at the New Bauhaus Institute of Design in Chicagoand was an assistant at Abbott’s New York studio later in 1939. In the late 1930s, he started a documentary series of Chicago scenes entitled “Portrait of My City” which focused on the social issues of the city.
Although drafted at the beginning of World War II, Edmund Teske failed the medical exam for asocial tendencies and emotional instability, terms often used at that time to disqualify homosexual men. He was instead appointed as an assistant photographer for the Army Corps of Engineers stationed at Illinois’s Rock Island Arsenal where he printed aerial maps for the military. In the early part of 1943, Teske was able to leave his position and, allured by a new life in Hollywood, made the decision to move to Los Angeles.
After a brief working stay at Wright’s Arizona Taliesin West, Teske arrived in Los Angeles in April of 1943. He was hired for Paramount Pictures’s photographic still department and soon joined the artistic and bohemian movement in the city. After a chance meeting with oil heiress Aline Barnsdall, who was a client of Wright, he was invited to live at the Olive Hill estate that Wright had designed for her. Assuming a larger role than that of just caretaker, Teske hosted informal parties and artistic gatherings with such personalities as artist Man Ray, novelist Anaïs Nin, director George Cukor, sculptor Tony Smith, and actors Joel McCrea and Frances Dee.
Among the people that Edmund Teske met during this period was the novelist and playwright Christopher Isherwood who introduced Teske to the Hindu philosophy of Vedanta. Teske embraced this philosophy with its concept of the connection of life and nature, and its understanding of the existence of time in relation to the larger universe. He also believed in the coexistence of both the masculine and the feminine within every individual. These teachingsbecame a firm basis for his existing view oflife and formed a bonding point with Isherwood and the growing Los Angeles gay community.
Teske continued his photographic experiments with manipulated and combined multiple images from which he produced composite prints from sandwiched negatives, prints with solarization to reverse highlight and shadow, and photographic collages. One of the series he produced was “Shiva-Shakti” which featured a nude male overlaid with human faces, landscapes, or abstract subjects. After moving in 1949 to a small studio in Laurel Canyon, Teske became active during the early part of the 1950s with several small, local theater groups. Throughout the 1950s, he experimented with new manipulative and chemical techniques which culminated in 1958 with a new combination of photographic print toning and solarization, later named duotone solarization.
Edmund Teske frequently returned during the 1960s and 1970s to older negatives and reinterpreted them through experimental printing techniques. He participated in more than two dozen group exhibition including the Museum of Modern Art’s 1960 “The Sense of Abstraction” show and was given eighteen solo shows. A colleague of photographer Robert Heineken at the University of California in Los Angeles in the 1960s, Teske taught many of the important photographers of that time, among whom were Aaron Siskind and Judy Dater, and mentored many local photographers. He befriended singer Jim Morrison of The Doors and took a series of informal portraits of Morrison and long term companion Pamela Courson.
During the last twenty years of his life, Teske worked and lived in his East Hollywood studio where he regularly taught workshops. He assembled a comprehensivesix-volume autobiographical collection of his work , entitled “Emanations”; however it was never published during his lifetime. In 1994 the Northridge Earthquake severely damaged his studio which forced him to relocate to downtown Los Angeles. Edmund Teske died alone in his home at the age of eighty-five on November 22nd in 1996. A posthumous retrospective of Teske’s photographs was given in 2004 by the John Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.
“Strive to accept the facts of life with courage and serenity to develop talent, as an outlet for emotion, and to find happiness in the world of the mind and spirit. In the days when Greece and Rome ruled the world in arts and letters and philosophy, love of man for man reached openly its pinnacle of beauty. Civilization today, moving forward, must eventually recognize these true facts of love and sex variations.”
–Excerpt from Edmund Teske’s Journal, Published in Julian Cox’s “Spirit into Matter: The Photographs of Edmund Teske”, John Paul Getty Museum, 2004
Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in April of 1900, David Joseph Manners, birth name Rauff de Ryther Duan Acklom, was a Canadian-American actor. It was not until 1940 that he officially changed his name, taken his mother’s maiden name, and applied to become a naturalized citizen of the United States.
David Manners was the son of British parents, Lilian Manners and the writer George Moreby Acklom, who was at that time the headmaster of Canada’s prestigious, private boarding school Harrow House. In 1906, George Acklom emigrated to the United States and took a position as a literary advisor for New York’s publishing company E. P. Dutton.The following year, David Manners, his older sister and mother joined his father and settled in Mount Vernon, an inner suburb of New York City.
The Acklom family relocated in January of 1920 to West 123rd Street in Manhattan where Manners, still using the name Rauff, resided with his parents. He gained employment as an assistant publisher; however, he soon returned to Canada and enrolled to study forestry at the University of Toronto. Attracted to stage work on campus, Manners started drama training and made his acting debut in 1924 at the university’s Hart House Theater with a role in Euripides’s play “Hippolytus”.
Despite objections from his father, David Manners continued his acting career after his return to the United States. He joined English stage and screen actor BasilSydney’s Touring Company and, later, stage actress and director Eva Le Gallienne’s New York Civic Repertory Company. With these companies, Manners performed in theaters in Chicago and on New York City’s Broadway. He continued his acting studies under Le Gallienne and was able to get a co-starring role with actress Helen Hayes in Edgar Selwyn and Edmund Goulding’s play “Dancing Mothers” which premiered at Broadway’s Booth Theater in mid-town Manhattan.
In 1927, Manners relocated to California and was soon discovered at a Hollywood party by gay film director James Whale. His first appearance in film was an uncredited role as the pilot in the 1929 pre-code adventure film “The Sky Hawk”, directed by John G. Blystone for the Fox Film Corporation. This was followed in 1930with the role of Lieutenant Raleigh in director James Whale’s war film “Journey’s End”. Manner’s performances in these two films received endorsements from reviewers working with Variety and The New York Times, both of which praised subsequent performances.
In late 1930, David Manners performed perhaps his best remembered role, that of Jonathan Harker, the protagonist to Bela Lugosi’s vampire in Universal Studios’ “Dracula”. The following year, he played a blind war veteran with co-star Barbara Stanwyck in Frank Capra’s critically acclaimed romance film “The Miracle Woman”. During his brief contract with Warner Brothers Studios, Manners progressed from supporting player to true movie-star with his successful role as Teddy Taylor in the 1932 “Crooner”. Directed by Lloyd Bacon, the musical drama told the story of Taylor’s rise and fall as a singing star
With his stardom achieved by “Crooner” and “Dracula”, Manners was able to freelance with success and worked for several years as a romantic leading man, most often tuxedo-dressed in romantic comedies and light dramas. Two exceptions to this were his role as Shep Lambert in the 1931 ensemble cast film “The Last Flight” and the role Frank Whemple, the son of archaeologist Sir Joseph Whemple, in Karl Freund’s 1932 horrorfilm “The Mummy”, where he played opposite Boris Karloff’s role as the mummy. Manners joined the Screen Actors Guild in 1933 but became increasingly frustrated by his Hollywood roles and film career. After appearing in three films in 1936, David Manners left the studios and retired from film work, a career containing roles in thirty-nine movies.
David Mainers continued to perform regularly on stage for the next seventeen years in tour productions, summer stock, and on Broadway. He used his influence to help promising up-and-coming actors such as Lucille Ball, who had a small role in the musical “Roman Scandals” which co-starred Manners, and Marlon Brando, with whom Manners co-starred in the Broadway production of “Truckline Café”, directed by Elia Kazan. Manners quietly financed small theatrical groups in California and paid medical bills for people in the film industry who had fallen on hard times. Under his birth name, Duan Acklom, he supported anti-drug programs and helped performers overcome addictions.
Manners married Suzanne Bushnell, a native of Ohio, in New York City on the 23rd of May in 1929. The 1930 census has the couple living in Los Angeles, along with Antonio Dumles, a twenty-two year old Filipino listed as servant. The marriage soon ended with Manners and Suzanne Bushnell divorcing in 1932. Manners changed his name legally from Acklom in 1940 and achieved citizenship while he was living in Victorville, California. He became a published novelist with his 1941 “Convenient Season”, a novel of familial reconciliation, which was followed by the 1943 novel “Under Running Laughter”, both published by E. P. Dutton.
In 1948, David Manners began a long-term relationship with playwright and writer Frederic William (Bill) Mercer. They initially lived together at Manners’s ranch in Victorville but moved in 1956 to a residence in Pacific Palisades. Following his retirement, Manners spent his last decades pursuing personal interests including painting, writing and philosophy. In 1971, he published his views in “Look Through: An Evidence of Self Discovery”, published by El Cariso Publications.
Manners and Mercer were partners until Bill Mercer’s death in August of 1978, Twenty years later, David Manners died at the age of ninety-eight in the health center of aretirement community in Santa Barbara, California. His ashes were taken toSan Bernardino County and scattered at Rancho Yucca Loma in Victor Valley. It is unknown where Frederic William Mercer is buried.
Second Insert Image: Sidney Hickox, “Katharine Hepburn and David Manners”, 1932, Still Shot from “A Bill of Divorcement”, Director George Cukor
Fourth Insert Image: John J. Mescall, “Boris Karloff, David Manners, Bela Lugosi”, 1934, Film Shot from “The Balck Cat, Director Edgar G. Ulmer
God love you
Dana my lover
lost in the horde
on this Friday night
500 men are moving up
& down from the bath
room to the bar.
Remove this desire
from the man I love.
Who has opened
of the sea to me.
See to it that
his wants are filled
on California street
Bestow on him lan-
gesse that allows him
peace in his loins.
Leave him not
to the moths.
Make him out a lion
so that all who see him
hero worship his
thick chest as I did
moving my mouth
over his back bringing
our hearts to heights
I never hike over
Let blond hair burn
on the back of his
neck, let no ache
screw his face
up in pain, his soul
is so hooked.
Rather fix these
hundred men as his
lovers & lift him
with the enormous bale
of their desire.
John Wieners, A Poem for the Old Man, The Hotel Wentley Poems, 1958
Born in Boston in January of 1934, John Wieners was a poet and both an anti-war and gay rights activist. He was also a member of the San Francisco Renaissance, a movement which made that city the center of the American poetry avant-garde in the 1950s. Wieners studied from 1950 to 1954 at Boston College where he earned his Bachelor of Arts. After hearing a reading by postmodernist poet Charles Olson at Boston’s Charles Street Meeting House, Wieners enrolled at Black Mountain College where he studied under Olson and Robert Duncan, a modernist poet and shamanistic figure in San Francisco’s artistic and poetic circles.
In 1956 after returning to Boston, Wieners met visiting poets Frank O’Hara and Jack Spicer and became close friends with poet Stephen Jonas, a relationship which lasted until Jonas’s early death in 1970. He, along with Jonas, close friend Jim Dunn, JackSpicer and poets Ed Marshall and Robin Blaser, formed a group which they labeled the School of Boston. All the members of the group, except for Dunn, were openly gay and congregated regularly in the bohemian Beacon Hill District. There they published limited-run chapbooks of poetry and the “Boston Newsletter”and “Measure”, both short-run publications which contained poems on queer vulnerability and survival.
In 1957, John Wieners relocated to the North Beach area of San Francisco with his boyfriend Dana Durkee. This relationship soon broke up. The result of which was a period of intense creativity for Wieners as he began to associate with the artistic and literary community of the city but it also led to a deterioration of his mental health. In San Francisco, he became closely associated with painter and set-designer Robert LaVigne and collage artist Wallace Berman, both of whom were involved in the Beat Movement.
In 1958 at the age of twenty-four, Wieners published his first collection of poems entitled “The Hotel Wentley Poems”, which contained both Beat and queer poems. Written during a six-day stay at the hotel in the queer Polk Gulch neighborhood, the poems balance the loss of his boyfriend Dana with the social atmosphere of the queer bars and friends. After this publication, he became a contributor to publisher Donald Allen’s influential “New American Poetry” anthology.
Worn down by an atmosphere of constant paranoia, homophobic landlords, drug busts and entrapment by undercover police, John Wieners’s mental health gradually declined. Arriving in New York, his erratic behavior from a drug cocktail prompted an acquaintance to call Wieners’s parents; damaging stays in several Massachusetts institutions followed. At Medfield State Hospital, Wieners lost his manuscripts and was threatened with electrical treatments. As an inpatient at Bournewood Hospital in Waltham, he was given ninety-one insulin treatments which caused memory loss.
Recovering at his parents’ home in Milton, Wieners continued his poetic writings in his notebooks and letters. His great poem “The Acts of Youth” was included in a January 1962 letter to his peer and former teacher Charles Olson; the poem alternates between visions of pain and suffering and dreams of resurrection. Wieners’s second collection of poems entitled “Ace of Pentacles” was published in 1964. In the following year, Wieners was engaged by Olson on a Guggenheim graduate fellowship at State University of New York, Buffalo.
In 1966 in Buffalo, John Wieners began the only significant hetero-relationship of his life with patron and heiress Panna Grady. That ended after Grady terminated a pregnancy and began a relationship with Charles Olson. In the following years, Wieners suffered a series of losses: the deaths of Olson, his friend Jonas, and both his parents. While inside another institution, the Central Islip State Hospital on Long Island, he heard about the 1969 Stonewall uprising from Charley Shively, a representative from the new Gay Liberation movement in Boston. This became one of the most important friendships in Wieners’s latter life.
Wieners began publishing poems, plays, and essays in Boston’s “Fag Rag”, a militant magazine published by Shively and others of the anarchist Fag Rag collective. The magazine was a medium for homosexual poetry, history, reviews and art that was sex-positive and which associated homosexuality not with tragedy but with joy. The collective later formed the Good Gay Poets Press in 1972, whose second publication was Wieners’s long poem “Playboy” which recounted Fag Rag’s presence at the 1072 Democratic convention in Miami. The Good Gay Poets Press also published Wieners’s full-length book “Behind the State Capital; or Cincinnati Pike” in 1975. A prominent theme in the book was Wieners’s defiance of traditional gender roles.
After the publication of “Behind the State Capital”, John Wieners nearly ceased writing poems and letters. Incapacitated by years of abusive mental health care, he lived frugally in his Beacon Hill neighborhood and became reliant on emotional and financial support from his old friends. Wieners continued to give occasional readings and worked on producing articles for the “Fag Rag” magazine. Its final issue in 1987 had a photograph of Wieners and Shively kissing at Gay Pride on its front cover.
John Wieners died on the 1st of March in 2002 , at his side were his longtime supporters and friends Charley Shively and Jim Dunn. Many of Wieners’s later writings were lost; many were never published. His papers are housed in several university collections and some of his late poems are in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University.
John Wieners’s 1971 journal, discovered in the Kent State University archive collection, was published by Bootstrap Press with the title “A Book of Prophecies” in 2007. City Lights Bookstore and Publishers released “Stars Seen in Person: Selected Journals of John Wieners” in 2015; it contains selections from four unpublished journals written from 1955 to 1969. A comprehensive selection of Wieners’s poetry, “Supplication”, was published in 2015 by Wave Books.
Born in 1981, Naila Hazell is a British contemporary artist who was raised in Baku, Azerbaijan. She studied fine arts under the renowned Soviet social-realist painter Boyukagha Mirzezade, a laureate of the State Prize of the Azerbaijan Republic. Hazellreceived her MFA at the Azerbaijani Fine Arts Academy. Although working mainly in oils, she is exploring other mediums for her conceptual art projects.
Hazell is mainly a figurative artist whose work in oils contain a diversity of deep colors and structures surrounding her figures. Her works explore the stillness found in those short precious moments that happen throughout one’s life, often ignored due to life’s rapid pace. Hazell’s themes contain many stories linked to ordinary life experiences; they also contain messages about the deeper realities of life and offer glimpses into individual identities.
Naila Hazell’s work has been included in many group exhibitions since her initial entry in a 2000 group exhibition in Baku. Her second group show was “White and Black” held in 2009 at the Azerbaijan National Museum in Baku. From 2010 to 2020, Hazell has had work in sixteen group shows in Azerbaijan and England. Among these were the 2011 “Novruz Celebration” held at Gibson Hall, Bishop Gate in London, the 2020 Mall Galleries Annual Exhibition for the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, and the 2020 Mall Galleries Royal Society of British Artists 303rd Annual Exhibition in London.
In 2008, Hazrll had her first solo exhibition entitled “You Are Always With Me” at Baku’s Art Centre Gallery. Her second solo was the 2012 “Naila Hazell” exhibition held at the Axerbaijan Cultural Center in London. In 2020, Hazell exhibited her works at a solo exhibition in the Hogarth Health Club in Chiswick, London. Currently based in her West London studio, she was the recipient of the 2021 Royal Scottish Academy’s Lyon and Turnbull Award.
Naila Hazell’s work is currently being shown at an exhibition entitled “Face to Face” held at London’s Gillian Jason Gallery on Great Titchfield Street until the 17th of December. Hazell’s website can be found at:https://www.nailahazell.com
Top Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Naila Hazell with Self Portrait”
Middle Insert Image: Naila Hazell, “Intersection with Shadows”, 2022, Oil on Linen
Bottom Insert Image: Naila Hazell, “Resting on Truth”, 2022, Oil on Linen
Jean Alaux, “Cadmus in Combat with the Dragon”,1830, Engraving, 38.6 x 29.5 cm, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, France
Born in 1786 in the port city of Bordeaux, Jean Alaux was a French history painter, one of four brothers who all became painters. He received his first art lessons from his father. Alaux’s formal training was under history painter Pierre Lacour and Pierre-Narcisse Guérin, a Parisian painter known for his portraits and melodramatic mythological scenes. In 1807, Alaux was admitted to the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris.
Beginning in 1808, Jean Alaux began entering his work in the Prix de Rome; however, he took a hiatus from his own work to assist his older brother Jean-François Alaux on a large-scale panorama. Subsequently, Alaux entered his “Briseis Weeping Over the Body of Patroclus” in the 1815 Prix de Rome. This work, inspired by Homer’s “Illiad”, was awarded the major prize at the exhibition. Alaux was elected to the French Academy in Rome and, from 1816 to 1820, received an annual pension.
While at the Academy, Jean Alaux became a friend of Neo-classical painter Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and associated with such artists as painters François-Édouard Picot and Michel Martin Drolling, and sculptors David d’Angers and Jean-Jacques Pradier. Alaux’s first oil painting at the Academy was “Cadmus Killing the Dragon at the Fountains of Dirce”, purchased by the Duke of Orleans and later destroyed in a a fire at the Royal Palace during the 1848 French Revolution. Alaux painted two other mythology-based scenes during his stay at the Academy: “Episode in Combat with the Centaurs and the Lapithes” and “Diamedes Carrying Off the Palladium”.
Alaux returned to France in 1821 where his reputation grew as his new works were well received. In 1825 he painted the historical work“The Baptism of Clovis”, which depicted the warlord King Clovis’s baptism by Saint Remigius, the Bishop of Rheims, surrounded by a crowd of spectators. This work was followed by “States General of 1838”, “The Assembly of the Notables at Rouen in 1596”, and “States General of 1814”.
During the liberal constitutional reign of Louis Philippe I which began in July of 1830, Alaux worked at the Galerie des Batailles under the auspices of the Chàteau de Versailles. He painted three historical works for the gallery: the 1836 “Battle of Villaviciosa”, “The Capture of Valenciennes” in 1837, and the 1839 “The Battle of Denain”.
In 1846, Jean Alaux was appointed director of the French Academy in Rome. During his directorship, he and his students were forced to temporarily flee to France during the siege of Rome in 1849 when Garibaldi’s defending forces fought the invading French army. Alaux continued his directorship at the Academy until his retirement in 1852. Jean Alaux died twelve years later in Paris on the second of March in 1864.
Jean Alaux’s work can be found in many private and public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of New York which holds his 1817 “Léon Pallière in His Room at the Villa Medici, Rome”, the British Museum in London which houses a collection of Alaux’s etchings, and the Harvard Art Museum, among others.
Top Insert Image: Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, “Portrait of Jean Alaux”, Date Unknown, Engraving
Middle Insert Image: Jean Alaux, “Narcisse”, 1818, Oil on Canvas, 95.3 x 76 cm, Private Collection
Bottom Insert Image: Jean Alaux, “A Man with Gun Seen from Behind”, Date Unknown, Black and White Chalk on Brown Paper, 57.7 x 39.1 cm, Private Collection
Photographers Unknown, We Dig Up Fire From Nearly Anywhere
I’m not sure how it got this early or why we needed
to keep the evening in what we would much later
agree was motion. What could grow so marvelous
and where might I’ve met you- only endless want
lay ahead, but we figured we’d earned it. Desire our
birthright, rebate checks clog the mailbox and spill
onto the lobby floor- account for them when
you get home; now run naked at the gulls
all you like, I’m wating for August right here.
Whatever you say sounds better with your thigh
against mine and caught in the camera-phones
of our undoing. Yes you told me what I need
but Brooklyn’s awfully far to go for something
you don’t even believe; what’s miraculous is that
we ever managed to be specific. What’s tedious;
insufficiently scandalous secrets. We dig up fire
from nearly anywhere but you’re too burnt to burn
or admit we wanted to try what feels almost new.
Mark Bibbins, There Is No You Are Everywhere, The Dance of No Hard Feelings, 2009, Copper Canyon Press
Born in Albany, New York in 1968, Mark Bibbins is an American poet who earned his Bachelor of Arts at New York City’s Hunter College and aMaster of Fine Art at The New School, a private research university in New York City.
Bibbins’s poetry is constructed from words and anecdotes piecedtogether into a collage form which creates new layers of meanings.His pems are know for their sardonic wit, unmistakable sexuality, arresting titles and wide range of references from pop culture, media and politics. The emphasis of Bibbins’s work is not the moral or message behind it, but rather his mood or tone on the subject. This presentation allows people to approach the particular subject from a point of view that might lie outside their ordinary experience.
Bibbins received a Lambda Literary Award for his first collection of poetry “Sky Lounge”, published by Graywolf Press in 2003. He was awarded a Poetry Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts in 2005. Bibbins’s second volume of poetry was the 2009 “The Dance of No Hard Feelings”, a collection of erotic love poems and clever elegies of ironic cynicism that examine the concepts of queer awareness and emotions.
In 2014, Mark Bibbins’s third collection entitled “They Don’t Kill You Because They’re Hungry, They Kill You Because They’re Full” was published by Copper Canyon Press. This volume examined the issues of power, gender, and sexuality through a series of “persona poems”. Each poem is spoken through the voice of a chosen personality, either modern and classical. The cadence of each poem’s distinctive voice presents a particular mood and perception to the listener.
Bibbins published his fourth collection “13th Balloon” in 2020. This book-length poem sequence examined the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s through an address to a dead beloved who passed in 1992 at the age of twenty-five. Part elegy and part personal memoir in verse, the poem combines fragmented experiences of youth and loss with anguish and desire. This volume was one of NPR’s Favorite Books of 2020 and was awarded the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry in 2021.
Mark Bibbins has resided in Manhattan, New York, since 1991. He currently teaches graduate programs at Columbia University and The New School, where he co-founded LIT Magazine. Bibbins is also a teacher at New York University’s Writers Program in Florence, Italy.
Teinosuke Kinugasa, “Kurutta Ippeiji (Page of Madness)”, 1926/1975, Film Scene Gifs, Cinematogapher Kōhei Sugiyama, Seventy-one Minutes, Kinugasa Productions/New line Cinema
Born in January of 1896 in Kameyama located in the northern prefecture of Mie, Teinosuke Kinugasa was a Japanese film maker. He began his career as an onnagata, an actor who specialized in female roles, and performed in the silent films of the Nikkatsu Studio, Japan’s oldest major movie studio founded in 1912.
Kinugasa started directing in the early 1920s when Japanese cinema began using actresses in its films. He worked for various producers, including Shozo Makino considered one of the pioneering directors of Japanese film. Kinugasa became an independent director and producerto make what is considered his best known film “A Page of Madness”. Lost for forty five years, the film was discovered by Kinugasa in his storehouse in 1971 and re-released in 1975 with a new print and score.
Released in September of 1926, the silent film “A Page of Madness” is part of the work of the Shinkankakuha, an avant-garde group of Japanese modernist artistsknown as the School of New Perceptions which sought to produce direct, intuitive sensations to its subjects through dramatic and theatrical strategies. Yasunari Kawabata, who would win the 1968 Nobel Prize for Literature, is credited on the film with the original storyline and also worked on the film’s scenario with Banko Sawada and Minoru Inuzuka, who became well known for his later scripts on the Zatoichi film series.
The film takes place in a countryside asylum where a janitor interacts with various patients with mental illnesses. His daughter arrives to visit her mother who happens to be a inmate in the asylum, gone insane due to her husband, the janitor. Feeling guilty, her husband had taken a job at the asylum to care for her. After hearing from his daughter the plans of her marriage, the janitor becomes worried due to the beliefthat his wife’s mental illness might cause the marriage to be canceled. The stress of his wife’s condition and the impending marriage of his daughter causes the janitor to lose control of the difference between dreams and reality. He experiences fantasies of taking his wife from the asylum and his daughter marrying a bearded inmate. He finally returns to a sense of realtiy after his dreams of providing happy-faced masks to the inmates.
Teinosuk Kinugasa’s “A Page of Madness” and his later 1928 silent film “Jûjiro (Crossroads)”, the first Japanese film to be commercially released in Europe, are both praised for their inventive camera work, which has been compared to Germany’s Expressionist work of the same period. In “Crossroads”, Kinugasa dispensed with chronological construction and instead used flashbacks to stimulate the mind of the main character. He also used a drab gray setting and an experimental camera technique which focused attention on one significant detail at a time, such as a hand.
Following a period of silent films, Kinugasa directed jidaigeki, period dramas most often set in the Edo period of Japanese history, at the Shochiku Studios where he helped to establish the career offilm and stage actor Chōjirō Hayashi, known by his professional name Kazuo Hasegawa. After the war, Kinugasa produced films for Daiei Studios, including lavish costume dramas and films such as the 1946 “Aru Yo No Tonosama (Lord for a Night)”, which won the first Mainichi Film Award for Best Film, and the 1952 “Daibutsu Kaigen (Dedication of the Great Buddha)” which was entered into the 1953 Cannes Film Festival.
In 1953, Kinugasa wrote and directed the 1953 jidaigeki film “Jigokumon (Gate of Hell)”. This film, one of the most internationally famous of all Japanese films, exemplified Kinugasa’s mastery of period film in its meticulous reproduction of a historical period. Produced during the golden age of Japanese cinema, the film was the first color work released by Daiei Film and also the first Japanese color film to be released outside of Japan. The film won the grand prize award at the 1954 Cannes Film Festival, a 1055 Academy Honorary Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1954, and the Academy Award for Best Costume Design, Color. Kinugasa’s film also won the Golden Leipard at the Locarno International Film Festival and the 1954 New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
The director of fifteen films, many of them award winners, Teinosuk Kinugasa died at the age of eighty-six from cerebral thrombosis on February 26th of 1982 in Kyoto, Japan. He was the first Japanese motion-picture director to present his story from the point of view of one of the characters and thus create a subjective world in a film.He also pioneered in the use of flashbacks and in the creation of a visual atmospheric effect.
Born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1936, Amos Badertscher is a self-taught American photographer whose body of work includes portraits, still lifes, and landscapes. He is best known for his gelatin silver prints of Baltimore’s hustler and subculture scenes from the 1970s to the 1990s.
In the middle of the 1970s, Badertscher, financed by a family inheritance, began to capture on film Baltimore’s downtrodden youth, often homelessor drug addicted, and many of them sex-workers between jail terms. On many of the portraits,there is copious shaky and uneven handwriting which sometimes filled all the available negative space around the image.These texts written by Badertscher revealed the lives of his subjects and his understanding of them. The writings outlined the painful childhoods, addictions, prostitution, disease and other realities that affected the lives of his subjects. In the texts, Badertscher also described fluidity in the sexual identity of the hustlers and their attempts at creating even fleeting stability in their lives.
Each of Amos Badertscher’s images is shot without reliance on intricate technique; instead the focus is placed on the intimate, personal nature of the portrait. His preferred photographic technique is rapid, unrehearsed sessions which are not planned or visualized in advance. Badertscher relies on his instinct and what he considers his many possibilities in the darkroom.
Badertscher’s work was ignored for almost twenty years. By 1993, he was resigned to putting his house up for sale. By chance, the real-estate agent brought Michael Mezzatesta. the director of the Duke University Museum of Art, and his wife to tour the house whose many rooms were covered with Badertscher’s photographs. Although the couple did not purchase the house, Badertscher was later given a solo exhibition at the Duke University Museum of Art in 1995.
Amos Badertscher’s best known photographic collection is “Baltimore Portraits” which was published in association with the Duke University Museum of Art’s exhibition of Badertscher’s work. The volume contains eighty black and white portraits accompanied with hand-written narratives about their subjects. “Baltimore Portraits”, which span a twenty-year period from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s, documented a sector of Baltimore life that had been largely unnoticed and virtually decimated by societal neglect, AIDS, and substance abuse. Badertscher’s collection presented arresting and melancholy photographs of bar and street people, strippers, drug addicts, transvestites, drag queens and hustlers.
Badertscher has shown his photography in many group exhibitions, including most recently “The 1970’s: The Blossoming of Queer Enlightenment” at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art in 2016, the 2019 “About Face: Stonewall, Revolt and New Queer Art” at Wrightwood 659 in Chicago’s Lincoln Park, and the 2021 “Clandestine: The Photo Collection of Pedro Slim” at the Cobra Museum voor Moderne Kunst in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Badertscher’s photographs, along with works by Diane Arbus, Man Ray, Bill Brandt and others, were alsoincluded in Mexico City’s“La Parte Más Bella”exhibition at the Museo de Arte Moderno which ran from October 2017 to March 2018.
In 2005, the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art gave a retrospective of Amos Badertscher’s photographs entitled “Illegal to See–The Outsider Art of Amos Badertscher”. This exhibit was originally mounted as part of the Center for Exploratory and Perceptual Art’s “Deviant Bodies”, a major exhibition that explored the margins of contemporary gay male culture. Badertscher’s show consisted of fifty-seven gelatin silver prints from his thirty plus years of work. From March to July in 2020, a solo exhibition of Badertscher’s photographs, “Amos Badertscher: The Souls Around Us” was held at the Schwules Museum in Berlin; this retrospective was his first comprehensive museum exhibition outside of the United States.
In 1998, a collection of Amos Badertscher’s photography, entitled “Badertscher”, was published by St. Martin’s Press. His work was also included in David Arden Sprigle’s 1998 “Male Bonding: Volume Two”, an anthology collection of sixty-three photographers. Badertscher’s photographs can be found in the New York Public Library’s Photography Collection and the Harry H. Weintraub Collection of Gay-Related Photography and Historical Documentation (1850-2010) at the Cornell University Library, as well as many other public and private collections.
Born in the Son Duong district of Vietnam in 1987, Dương Xuân Quyền is an artist and educator currently working at Tan Trao University in Tuyen Quang, Vietnam. He is a graduate of the Fine Arts Program at the Hanoi National University of Education.
Dương Xuân Quyền works in the Vietnamese tradition of carved-woodblockprinting on black paper as a familiar way to express the contemporary issue of gay relationships to the public. Having produced the initial print work, Quyền then enriches the image with colors from acrylic or oil paints. His current work contains images of male couples as well as lush, tropical scenes of natural habitat.
From 2011 to 2015, Quyền regularly participated in the Northwest-Viet Bac Exhibition, one of the seven regional contemporary art exhibitions in the country. He also organized a 2015 group exhibition entitled “Sac Autumn” at Hanoi’s Exhibition Hall 16 in Ngo Quyen.
Dương Xuân Quyền had his first solo exhibition in 2017 entitled “Love People of the Same Sex”, a collection consisting of twenty-two paintings and embellished wood-carved etchings on paper. In his work, he used tropical foliage and water taro leaves as the background for his presentations of male couples in romantic poses.
In 2020, Quyền won the Third-Place Prize at the Northwestern Fine Arts Exhibition-Region III exhibition for his series “Delayed Appointment I,II,III”. In 2021, he again entered the same exhibition and won another Third-Place Prize, this time for his series “My Side Tells Stories About the Days Apart I, II, III”. Quyền’s second solo exhibition was held in Hanoi in 2022 and entitled “Vertical Flowers”. The show consisted of twenty-eight, large oil and acrylic paintings which depicted Duoc Mung leaves, a native plant well-known to the public.
Insert Image: Dương Xuân Quyền, “Awakening Lovers”, 2020, Oil on Canvas, 80 x 100 cm, Private Collection
Photographers Unknown, Asleep You Become a Continent
asleep you become a continent—
undiscovered, mysterious, long,
your legs mountain ranges
encircling valleys, ravines
night slips past your eyelids,
your breath the swaying of the sea,
sprawled across the bed like
a dolphin washed ashore, your mouth
is the mouth of a sated volcano,
O fragrant timber, how do you burn?
you are so near, and yet so far
as you doze like a lily at my side,
I undo myself and invoke the moon—
I’m a dog watching over your sleep
Francisco Aragón, Asleep You Become a Continent (Francisco X. Alarcón), Glow of Our Sweat, 2010
Born in San Francisco in 1968, Francisco Aragón is an American poet, essayist, translator and editor. The son of Nicaraguan immigrants who settled in the United States in the 1950s, he earned his Bachelor of Arts at the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master of Arts in Spanish at New York University. Upon his return to the United States.in 1998 after a decade in Spain, Aragón completed his graduate degrees in Creative Writing from the University of California at Davis and the University of Notre Dame.
At the University of Notre Dame in 2003, Aragón became the director of Letras Latinas, the literary program of the Institute of Latino Studies and a founding member of the Poetry Coalition. A winner of an Academy of American Poets Prize, he served on the board of directors of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs from 2008 to 2012. Aragón is the founding editor and director for the Momotombo Press, established in 2004. Named after the volcano in Nicaragua, the press publishes and promotes new works in Latino literature in the chapbook format.
Francisco Aragón’s poetry places his personal experiences within the wider historical and cultural conventions of society. His writing process is often stimulated by sensory experiences that bring forth memories long forgotten. Aragón’s poetry has appeared in over twenty anthologies and a range of literary journals. In 2010 he was awarded with an Outstanding Latino Cultural Arts and Publication Award by the American Association for Hispanics in Higher Education.
Aragón is the author of three books of poetry, the most recent being the 2020“After Rubén”, which explores Latinx and queer identity through homage to the great Nicaraguan poet Rubén Dario. Throughout the text, Aragón intersperses English language translations with riffs from Dario’s poetry. His previous collections include his 2005 debut volume, “Puerta del Sol”, and “The Glow of Our Sweat”, published in 2010.
Francisco Aragón is the author of three previous chapbooks of poetry: “Tertulia”, “In Praise of Cities”, and “Light Yogurt, Strawberry Milk”. His most recent chapbook is the 2019 “His Tongue a Swath of Sky”, printed in an edition of only two-hundred copies. In this work, Aragón amends the historical record by turning figures of modernista pastoral into an idealization of queer desire. All proceeds from the sale of this book were donated to Letras Latinas.
Aragón is the editor of the award-winning 2007 anthology “The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry”.His work as a translator includes four books by Francisco X. Alarcón, as well as work by Spanish poets Federico García Lorca and Gerardo Diego. More recently, Aragón has been rendering versions of the Nicaraguan poet, Rubén Darío.
Born in Manhattan, New York in 1948, David Lebe is an Americanphotographer whose work includes both figurative and still life images. His initial education began at the progressive, elementary-level City & Country School in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village and later at Harlem’s High School of Music and Art. During these years, Lebe frequently visited New York City’s many art museums, particularly drawn to the Museum of Modern Art’s photographic exhibitions. His exposure to the photographs of Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange and Robert Frank, among others, generated a life-long passion for street photography.
David Lebe is best known for his experimental images. Among the techniques used are pinhole cameras, photograms made by placing objects directly on photographic paper and then exposing it to light, hand-painted photographs, and light drawings, an old technique which entails using a moving light source during a long-exposure photograph. In his photography, Lebe explores the issues of gay identity, homoeroticism, and living with AIDS.
From 1966 to 1970, David Lebe attended the Philadelphia College of Art where he studied photography under Ray K. Metzker, known for his bold experimental, black and white cityscapes; Tom Porett, who pioneered work in the extended photograph, multi-media and digital photographic processes: and Barbara Blondeau, best known for her strip-print images created through different winding speeds, and various lighting and masking techniques.
Duringhis studies with Barbara Blondeau in 1969 and 1970, Lebe began to experiment with pinhole cameras and built his own devices with multiple apertures which enabled him to record panoramic views from different angles. For his senior thesis, he created “Form Without Substance”, a series of high-contrast images with strong black shadows which were taken in Philadelphia and his childhood area of Manhattan.Two years after graduation, Lebe accepted a teaching position at the Philadelphia College of Art, where he taught photography until 1990. During his tenure, he exhibited his photography in private galleries and museums.
A dissatisfaction with the results of color film printing led David Lebe to begin hand-coloring his gelatin silver prints, photograms and pinhole images, and traditional photographs. His first collection of these works was the 1974-75 “Unphotographs”, a series of meticulously hand-painted portraits and self-portraits. After the purchase of a townhouse and studio space in Philadelphia, Lebe began to create several series of photograms using plant material collected from his gardens and country excursions. His “Specimens” series featured plants, bones and other material combined into hybrid forms; the “Garden Series” contained images of plant material dissected and reassembled; “Landscapes” placed the hybrid forms in hand-painted settings.
In early 1976 still living in a cramped apartment in Philadelphia, Lebe created his first black and white light drawing . Standing before a 35mm camera on a tripod, he made a long exposure using a flashlight to draw an outline of his naked body and embellished it with points and lines of light throughout the room. This technique, originally used by photographers Étienne-Jules Marey and Georges Demeny in the 1800s, developed over time to include other people, objects and their surroundings. The long exposure time allowed Lebe to enter these images with his subjects and create events rather than moments of time.
In 1987, following the death of a friend from AIDS and just before his own HIV diagnosis, David Lebe produced “Scribbles”, abstract images drawn freehand with a flashlight and which often featured light emerging from a glass vase. In 1989, David Lebe began a series of four shoots depicting adult film star and author Scott O’Hara. These sessions contained both nude and erotic images which, while documenting the effects of AIDS on O’Hara’s body, also presented his determination to embrace his personal sexual pleasure.
In 1989, Lebe met the ceramic artist and horticulturist Jack Potter. The two began a relationship that has continued to endure for over thirty years. Both men were HIV-positive when they met. They altered their lifestyle, their eating habits, and moved to the rural Columbia County of New York in 1993. The transition from city to country life inspired Lebe to create the still-life series “Food for Thought”, arrangements of various vegetables and foods shot against black background, sometimes with spirals of light around them.
Despite their efforts at a healthy diet and lifestyle, both David Lebe and Jack Potter began to decline in their health in the mid-1990s. In 1994, Lebe documented his lover Jack’s daily self-care regimen with a series of small, intimate black and white portraits. In his 1996-97 “Jack’s Garden”, he made detailed studies of the gardens Potter had cultivated on the property. In 1996, Lebe and Potter began the newly designed combination-drug therapy that was showing success in extending the lives of HIV-positive patients.
By 2004, David Lebe fully embraced digital photography and continued to photograph the environment around his and Jack’s home. He also began making new color prints of older work, including his early pinhole prints. In 2013, he started his ongoing series “ShadowLife”, images of shadows and reflections illuminated by early morning light streaming through the house’s windows, thus continuing his earlier studies of shadows. In May of 2019, Lebe had his first solo museum exhibition, “Long Light”, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which featured one hundred-forty five images spanning five decades. The exhibition represented both a historic achievement for an artist with AIDS and an important resistance to the dangerous tendency to historicize the disease.
David Lebe’s photography can be found in many private and public collections, which include, among others, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu, California; the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York City; Houston’s Museum of Fine Art, Santa Fe’s New Mexico History Museum, the Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Kansas City’s Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; and a major collection of his work at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Images of David Lebe’s work, prints for sale, and quotes from Lebe can be found at the artist’s site located at: https://davidlebe.com
Top Insert Image: David Lebe, “Unzippered, Paul, Philadelphis”, 1981, Light Drawomg Series, Silver Gelatin Print
Second Insert Image: David Lebe, “Self Portrait, Philadelphia”, 1981, Hand-Colored Light Drawing, Silver Gelatin Print
Third Insert Image: David Lebe, “Socks, (Renato, Philadelphia)”, 1983, Hand-Colored Light Drawing, Silver Gelatin Print
Lee Thomas, “Time Equals 36 Exposures (Negative and Positive Sections)”, 1971, Printed 1989, 72 Gelatin Silver Prints Total, Each Section of 36 Clocks 122 x 122 cm Framed, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Born in San Francisco, California in 1932, Lew Thomas was an Americanphotographer, polymath artist, curator, critic and a bookstore manager. He is one of the most well-known conceptual photographers of the 1970s, a pioneer in the field whose photographic experiments created new possibilities for Conceptual art.
Thomas, who had firm working knowledge of art philosophy and theory, actually rejected the term ‘conceptual photographer’. He struggled to gain acceptance for his work as there was not a broad understanding of photographers who were working conceptually within the photo community. As photography was still seen as separate from fine art, the art world was not accepting those photographers who were grounded in that practice.
Lew Thomas, as a child, developed a love for books and language, a trait which would later influence the basics of his art practice. He attended the University of San Francisco where he graduated in 1960 with a degree in English Literature.In 1964, Thomasbecame the manager of the Patrons of Art and Music Bookshop where he stayed until 1982. During this time, he developed his interest in photography and French Structuralism, a school of thought developed by anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss, in which cultures are viewed as systems and analyzed in terms of the structural relationships of their components.
Thomas initially studied under Joe Schopplein, a photographer with San Francisco’s de Young Museum, who taught him the techniques of shooting and printing film. Throughout his work, Thomas continued to investigate the relationship between word and image. Instead of being concerned about the aesthetic or psychological content of the image, he emphasized the capacity of a photograph to provide simple evidence of an image’s underlying structure. His art was a meticulous study of creating pictorial responses to understand how the meanings of words are conceived through their relationship with other words- a relationship without which they would have little significance.
Lew Thomas’s seminal work was the 1971 “Black & White”, a vertical diptych of photographs in which the word ‘black’ is printed in white on a black background above a print of the word ‘white’ on a black background. This breakthrough work was followed in 1972 with ”Opening & Closing the Garage Door”, which featured two vertical photo strips of a figure performing that routine. Although seeming quite simple on the surface, these two artworks by Lee Thomas were supported by his studies in structural linguistics, including his observations of his daughter’s speech development.
Thomas was also interested in the concept of time’s passage and how devices such as clocks form our relationships to it. In 1971, he created “Time Equals 36 Exposures (Negative and Positive Sections)”, a set of thirty-six exposures of a black clock shot at various times during the day, accompanied by an equal in size set of exposures of a white clock taken at the same times. For his 1973 “Light-On-Floor”, Thomas again used a six by six grid of thirty-six exposures to show the passing of a day as light shifts across a linoleum floor.
Starting in the early 1970s, Lew Thomas’s artwork began to be shown at major venues, including the Oakland Art Museum in 1972, San Francisco’s de Young Museum in 1974, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, among others. Thomas’s work, along with the work of conceptual photographers Donna-Lee Phillipsand Hal Fischer, was shown in the 2020 “Thought Pieces” exhibition held at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. These three photographers became the co-founders of the “Photography and Language” movement, named after a book and group exhibition of the same name produced by Thomas in 1976.
Thomas, Phillips and Fischer were all extremely active in the mid to late 1970s. In addition to making their own artwork, they published essays, reviewed shows and organized exhibitions. Under the name NFS Press, Thomas published a number of books designed by Phillips, including the 1978 “Structural(ism) and Photography” which featured Thomas’s work; “Eros and Photography” edited by Phillips and published in 1977; “Gay Semiotics” published in 1978; and the 1979 “18th Near Castro Street x 24”, a print version which paired young, gay Hal Fischer’s twenty-four hour study of a popular bus stop bench in the Castro district of San Francisco with texts drawn by him on the sidewalk every hour.
Lew Thomas, in addition to producing his art, engaged in the San Francisco art scene where he encouraged and debated fellow artists through salons, panel discussions, and workshops. He edited and published over thirty books and organized legendary exhibitions in California. The “Photography and Language” movement Thomas co-founded attracted many rising artists, including Dennis Adams, Peter d’Agostino, Meyer Hirsch and Cindy Sherman, among others. The work of this group exerted an influence beyond California and played a role in the conceptual photographic work of the 1980s.
In 1985 Thomas relocated from San Francisco to Houston, Texas, where he served as the Executive Director of the Houston Center of Photography until 1987. Hisartwork of the 1980s explored filmic representation, photography and human relationships as mediated through new technology, in particular, the newly popular VCR. From 1989 to 1995, Lew Thomas was the Visual Arts Coordinator at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans. His work in this period was exhibited at New Orlean’s Galerie Simonne Stern. In retirement, Lew Thomas moved to Petaluma, CA, where he lived surrounded by family and friends until his death in August of 2021 at the age of eighty-eight
Carlos Cancio, “Los Bañistas (The Bathers)”, 1989-1990, Acrylic on Paper Laid on Canvas, 230.9 x 175 cm, Private Collection
Carlos Cancio is a Cotemporary Puerto Rican artist; specialized in painting. After graduating from the University of Boston with a degree in fine arts, Cancio moved to Spain, where he set up his first studio. From 1991 to 2003, he lived in San Francisco, California; he currently lives and works in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Cancio has traveled extensively, including India where he became more familiar with that country’s art and culture.
Cancio began to show his work professionally in 1981, and has presented his work in several cities in the United States, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. He has had solo shows at the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture in 1987, the Museum of Art and History in San Juan in 1988, and the Museo de las Casas Reales Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic in 2004. Cancio has also taken part in group shows in the United States and Puerto Rico. His work is characterized by his poetic style, the use of figuration and its inclusion of pan-Caribbean motifs.
Born in Kingston, New York in 1978, Elijah Burgher is an American artist who produces both figurative and abstract colored pencil drawings, paintings and prints of sigils. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York, and his Master of Fine Arts at Chicago’s Art Institute. Burgher currently lives and works in Berlin, Germany. His work is represented by the Horton Gallery in Dallas, New York’s contemporary PPOW Gallery, and Western Exhibitions in Chicago.
In his work, Elijah Burgher uses ideas from occult and magic traditions to address queer sexuality, sub-cultural formations, and the history of abstraction. He also creates sigils, symbols of magical power, inspired by different esoteric systems, including the works of English illustrator and occultist Austin Osman Spare, who trained as a draughtsman at the Royal College of Art in South Kensington. Burgher’s sigils encode symbols of wishes and desires through their shape, and the compositions of their elements and color.
Burghers colored pencil drawings of nude male figures, often featuring images of friends,illustrate scenes from his daily life and environment. Acting as ritual relics, they have an erotic quality that anchors their abstract components into reality.
Elijah Burgher had solo exhibitions of his work in several galleries including the 2018 “Nudes inthe Forest” at the Ivan Gallery in Bucharest, Romania; “Bachelors” at New York’s Zieher Smith and Horton Gallery in 2016; and “Elijah Burgher, Topple the Table of Correspondences’ in 2011 at 2nd Floor Projects in San Francisco, among others. As a resident artist at Western Exhibitions in Chicago, Burgher has had several solo exhibitions in its gallery from 2012 to 2020.
Burgher has also shown his work in multiple group exhibitions from 2000 to 2021, including the 2014 Gwangin Biennial, Asia’s most important contemporary art exhibition which was held in the Republic of Korea; New York City’s 2014 Whitney Biennial; “The Temptation of AA Bronson” exhibition held in 2013 at the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam, Netherlands; the 2020 “intimacy: New Queer Art from Berlin and Beyond” held at the Centre d’Art Contemporain in Geneva, Switzerland; and “Secret Language” held in 2021 at the Ivan Gallery in Bucharest, among others.
In 2011, Elijah Burgher held a Residency at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in New York City and a Fire Island Artist Residency in Long Island, New York.
Photographers Unknown, This Need to Be Needed, To Belong
this gin-heavy heaven, blessed ground to think gay & mean me.
bless the fake id & the bouncer who knew
this need to be needed, to belong, to know how
a man taste full on vodka & free of sin. i know not which god to pray to.
i look to christ, i look to every mouth on the dance floor, i order
a whiskey coke, name it the blood of my new savior. he is just.
he begs me to dance, to marvel men with the
of hips i brought, he deems my mouth in some stranger’s mouth necessary.
bless that man’s mouth, the song we sway sloppy to, the beat, the bridge, the length
of his hand on my thigh & back & i know not which country i am of.
i want to live on his tongue, build a home of gospel & gayety
i want to raise a city behind his teeth for all boys of choirs & closets to refuge in.
i wnat my new god to look at the mecca i built him & call it dam good
or maybe i’m just tipsy & free for the first time, willing to worship anything i can tase.
Danez Smith, The 17-Year-Old & the Gay Bar, Poetry, February 2017
Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Danez Smith is an American poet and author who was a First Wave Urban Arts Scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, earning a Bachelor of Arts in 2012. They are genderqueer, non-binary and HIV positive. Their first collection of poetry was the 2013 chapbook “hands on your knees” published by Penmanship Books. Their chapbook “black movie”, published in 2015, won that year’s Button Poetry Prize.
Among other works, Smith is the author of three collections of poetry which received critical acclaim: the 2014 “(insert) Boy” which won the 2014 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry and was selected as a Boston Globe Best Poetry Book in the same year; the 2017 “Don’t Call Us Dead: poems” which was a finalist for the 2017 National Book Award for Poetry; and the 2020 “Homie” which was a finalist for the 2020 National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry, the 2021 NAACP Image Award for Poetry, and the 2021 Minnesota Book Award for Poetry.
In 2018, Danez Smith received the inaugural Four Quartets Prize from the Poetry Society of America for his sonnet sequence entitled “summer, somewhere”. Smith also became, at age twenty-nine, the youngest recipient of the Forward Prize for Best Poetry Collection; their collection of poems “Don’t Call Us Dead” won over works by former Forward winner Vahni Capildeo and U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith.
In addition to other awards for their collections, Danez Smith was the recipient of a 2014 Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship, the 2016 Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and a 2017 NEA Fellowship for Creative Writing. They currently serve on the board of directors for the Washington DC-based poetry non-profit Split This Rock.
Smith and poet and playwright Franny Choi are both co-hosts of the poetry podcast “VS” from the Poetry Foundation. Smith is also a founding member of Wikipedia’s Dark Noise Collective; other founders include Franny Choi, poet and screenwriter Fatimah Asghar, poet and singer/songwriter Jamila Woods, and poets Nate Marshall and Aaron Samuels.
Guy Madison (Sailor Harold E. Smith), “Since You Went Away”, 1944,Selznick International Pictures
Born in Pumpkin Center, California in January of 1922, Robert Ozell Moseley was an American film, television and radio actor. He was one of five children born to a machinist father and raised in Bakersfield, California. Moseley attended the city’s junior college where he majored in animal husbandry, he worked briefly as a telephone linesman in California before joining the Coast Guard in 1942.
In Hollywood on a liberty pass in 1944, Moseley attended a Lux Radio Theater broadcast where he was noticed by a talent scout and brought to the offices of Selznick International Pictures. David Selznick signed Moseley to a contract and gave him several screen tests and his first film role. Moseley appeared as a lonely sailor in a three-minute bowling alley sequence with film stars Jennifer Jones and Robert Walker in the 1944 “Since You Went Away”. He filmed his screen time on a weekend pass under the name Guy Madison, a screen name composed by David Selznick and his assistant Henry Wilson.
“Since You Went Away” was set in an American town where families dealt with loved ones fighting in the Second World War and the effects of that war at home. The cinematography was produced by Stanley Cortez, who would film Charles Laughton’s “Night of the Hunter”, Lee Garmes, an Academy Award winner for “Shanghai Express”, and George Barnes, Academy Award winner for “Rebecca”, and documentary producer Robert Bruce, the last two being in uncredited roles. The film was a success and generated thousands of fan letters for Guy Madison in his role as a lonely sailor.
Guy Madison, after his discharge from military service, was cast in several roles by Selznick. He appeared in leading roles in the 1946 drama film “Till the End of Time”, co-starring with Dorothy McGuire, Bill Williams and Robert Mitchum, and the 1947 comedy film “Honeymoon”, co-starring with Shirley Temple and Franchot Tone. Madison’s early acting roles in these films was judged by critics to be amateurish and, by the end of the 1940s, he was no longer getting roles. Along with most of the Selznick International’s contract-players during this period, Madison was eventually released from his contract.
Despite the bad reviews, Madison studied and started perfecting his art in the theater.His fortune changed when he was given the role of James Butler Hickok in the television series “The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok”, which ran from 1951 to 1958 and on the radio from 1951 to 1956. His co-star in the series was Andy Devine, a character actor well known for his distinctive raspy voice, who played the role ofthe trusty sidekick Jingles. This popular series was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1956 for Best Western or Adventure Series.
Guy Madison’s popularity as Hickok led to a starring role in the 1953 western film “The Charge at Feather River”, a role which gave him a new start as an action hero, albeit mostly in western films. Films which followed include the 1954 Western calvary film “The Command”; the 1955 robbery film “Five Against the House”; “The Beast of Hollow Mountain”, a 1956 horror western with a prehistoric beast; the 1956 science fiction drama “On the Threshold of Space”; the 1957 western drama“The Hard Man”; and “Bullwhip”, a 1958 western film in which Madison co-starred with Rhonda Fleming.
In the 1960s, Madison traveled through Europe and made several costume dramas, German adventure films and Italian westerns. Among his many European films are such films as the 1965 film “Das Vermächtnis des Inka (The Legacy of the Incas)”, the 1966 “I Cinque della Vndette (Five for Revenge)”, and the 1968 “I Lunghi Giorni dell’Odio (Long Days of Hate)”. In the 1970s, Madison returned to the United States and appeared in mainly cameo roles in film and television. In 1988, he appeared in a television remake of the western classic “Red River” along with western stars James Arness, Robert Horton and John Lupton. Madison’s role as rancher Bill Meeker became his final film role.
In his later years, Guy Madison’s work was greatly limited by physical aliments and the onset of emphysema. He eventually retired to a large ranch home he designed in Morongo Valley, California. Madison died at the age of seventy-four in February of 1996 at the Desert Hospital Hospice in Palm Springs, California. He was buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Cathedral City, California.
Guy Madison, in addition to all his appearances on many television shows, appeared in over fifty films in his career. In 1954, he was awarded a special Golden Globe Award for Best Western Star and, in 1986, was awarded a Golden Boot Award given in recognition of his contributions to the genre of westerns in television and film. Madison has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for his work in radio and one for his television contributions. He also has a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars in California.
Note: Character actor Andy Devine acted in many western films. One of his most notable roles was as Cookie, the sidekick in ten Roy Rogers feature films. He also appeared in several films with John Wayne, including “Stagecoach” in 1939, the 1953 “Island in the Sky”, and “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” released in 1962. Devine appeared extensively in radio including seventy-five appearances on Jack Benny’s radio show between 1936 and 1942. He was also the host for “Andy’s Gang”, a children’s television show hosted on NBC during the later half of the 1950s. Devine has a star of honor on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Second Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Guy Madison”, Studio Photo for “The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok”, circa 1951-1958
Third Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Guy Madison and Andy Devine”, Studio Photo for “The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok”, circa 1951-1958
Fourth Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Guy Madison and Robert Mitchum”, Publicity Photo for “Till the End of Time”, 1945-1946
Born in Louisville, Kentucky in March of 1892, Charles Dean Cornwell was an illustrator and muralist who was a dominant presence in American illustration during the first half of the twentieth- century. He began his professional career at the age of eighteen as a cartoonist for the Louisville Herald. In 1911, Cornwell found employment with the art department of the Chicago Tribune and began studies at the Chicago Art Institute where he studied under educator and painter Harvey Dunn, a prominent student of illustrator Howard Pyle and a member of the Brandywine School collective.
In 1915, Dean Cornwell traveled to New Rochelle, New York, well known for its established art colony, and studied under Dunn at the Art Students League in New York City where he eventually developed his own light-imbued style. In 1918 in Chicago, Cornwell married artist Mildred Montrose Kirkham, who also studied at the Chicago Art Institute. They had two children; however, due to Cornwell’s constant extramarital affairs, they separated after a few years but never divorced.
Possessing a strong work ethic, Cornwell often worked seventeen hours a day and through the entire week. His illustrations appeared in nearly every major publication in the United States including Redbook, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping. In 1926, Cornwell signed a long-term contract with Cosmopolitan for an annual salary of one-hundred thousand dollars, equivalent to over a million dollars today.
Dean Cornwell illustrated the novels of authors such as Ernest Hemingway, Pearl S. Buck, W. Somerset Maugham, andshort story writer Edna Ferber. He also illustrated posters to support the United States war efforts in three major conflicts, the Korean War effort and both the first and second World Wars. Through his career, Cornwelldid advertising for hundreds of companies including General Motors, the Pennsylvania Railroad, Goodyear, and New York Life; he also illustrated ads for such products as Coca-Cola, Seagram’s Gin, and Palmolive Soap.
Deciding to dedicate the rest of his career to mural painting, Cornwelltraveledto London in 1927, where he apprenticed to the painter Sir Frank William Brangwyn for a three-year study of mural painting. He assisted Brangwyn in a series of murals, including the British Empire Panels designed for the House of Lords. These panels, begun in 1925 and completed in 1932, were not hung in the Royal Gallery of the House of Lords as intended. Considered too lively and colorful, the panels were housed in a specially built hall in Swansea.
The most renowned of Dean Cornwell’s murals is the Los Angeles Public Library’stwelve-panel “History of California” which encircles the Grand Rotunda. Painted on linen canvases and finished in 1933,the forty-foot tall panels took five years to complete. Cornwell, having used all the funding after two years, took on illustrative work to finance the project to its completion. His other murals include, among others, those for the General Motors exhibition at the 1939 World’s Fair, New York’s Hotel Warwick’s Raleigh Room, the Easter Airlines building (now 10 Rockefeller Plaza), Boston’s New England Telephone headquarters building, and the William Rappard Center in Geneva, Switzerland.
Cornwell lectured and taught at New York’s Art Students League. From 1922 to 1926, he served as the president of the Society of Illustrators and was elected into its Hall of Fame in 1959. Cornwall was elected in `923 into the National Academy of Design as an Associate Academician and achieved full status in 1940. He served as President of the National Society of Mural Painters for four years beginning in 1953. Charles Dean Cornwell died at the age of sixty-eight in New York City on December 4th of 1960. A collection of his papers, correspondence, sketches, scrapbooks and photographs are housed in the Archives of American Art located in the Victor Building in Washington, DC.
Born in the Ardennes region between France and Belgium in 1968, Benoit Prévot is a French illustrator and comic artist. A graduate of EMSAT, he has worked at various design and advertising studios. Prévot received formal training at the CFT Gobelins, a Paris school for visual communication and the arts,after which he worked on several animated television series. Throughout his career, he has created artwork for comic books and fanzines, as well as illustrated book covers and promotional posters.
Prévot’s more current and personal work, reminiscent of illustrations produced in the 1920s, often displays a stylish homoerotic atmosphere. Although his favorite medium is ink and graphite on paper, Prévot has also produced works with watercolors and oil paints.
Benoit Prévot is the writer and illustrator for Class Comics’s “Angelface”, a graphic novel series set in the 1920’s era of prohibition, which was epitomized by that era’s illicit liquor bars, swing music, and loose morals. The illustrated series combines the elegance of that era with Prévot’s stylish homoeroticism. The story of Alan, known as Angelface, and his lover Red conjures up the glamour of upper-class wealth and Trans-Atlantic ocean liner travel as well as the grime of the working class world which Alan and Red want to escape.
Prévot’s work has been shown at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York City and has been shown regularly at the Tom of Finland Art and Culture Festivals. Issues of the graphic novel “Angelface” were donated in 2011 to the Tom of Finland Foundation. Benoit Prévot currently lives and works in Paris.
Bottom Insert Image: Benoit Prévot, “Décolleté”, Date Unknown
Born in February of 1987 in the northern city of Nadym, Igor Sychev is a Russian artist known for his Magic-Realistic figurative paintings. At the age of five years having shown an inclination towards the arts, his parents enrolled him in the city’s art school where he studied until the age of sixteen. Sychev left Nadym upon graduation and relocated to Novosibirsk, the capital of Siberia, where he entered the Faculty of Industrial Design at the State Academy of Architecture, Design and Fine Arts.
After graduating from the Academy in 2010, Sychev moved to Moscow, which as Russia’s capital offered wider prospects for a career and self-expression. He soon obtained employment as an industrial designer and created designs for furniture and interior spaces. In 2011 while working in the design field , Sychev begana personal study of oil painting techniques. Over the next ten years, Igor Sychev gradually redirected his energies into pursuing a career as a painter.
In addition to the primary medium of oil paints, Igor Sychev also produces works in the mediums of watercolor, pencil, sepia and charcoal. His work is inspired by the works of the recognized Master artists , such as Michelangelo’s “David”, who viewed the nude male body as a source of beauty, Other influences on Sychev’s work include the paintings of Lucian Freud and Egon Schiele, the large-scale expressive paintings of Paolo Troilo, painter Gregory Little’s boldly colored figures in everyday scenes,and Portuguese painter Carlos Barahona Possollo’s male nude paintings.
As the present politics and attitudes in Russian are predominantly homophobic, Igor Sychev has not been able to exhibit in galleries or museums. He holds his private exhibitions in establishments offered by friends. Sychev’s work is held in many private collections throughout the world, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Denmark, and South Africa, among others.
Images of Igor Sychev’s paintings, watercolors and drawings, as well as contact information, can be found at the artist’s website located at: https://www.igorsychev.com
Bottom Insert Image: Igor Sychev, “Concrete Colours” Sketch, Date Unknnown, White/Black Pencil and Pen on Paper, Artist Collection (Available)