Melvin Dixon: “We Live Bravely in the Light”

Photographers Unknown, Parva Scaena (Brief Scenes): Photo Set Twenty-Four

They won’t go when I go. (Stevie Wonder)
Live bravely in the hurt of light. (C.H.R.)

The children in the life:
Another telephone call. Another man gone.
How many pages are left in my diary?
Do I have enough pencils? Enough ink?
I count on my fingers and toes the past kisses,
the incubating years, the months ahead.

Thousands. Many thousands.
Many thousands gone.

I have no use for numbers beyond this one,
one man, one face, one torso
curled into mine for the ease of sleep.
We love without mercy,
We live bravely in the light.

Thousands. Many thousands.

Chile, I knew he was funny, one of the children,
a member of the church, a friend of Dorothy’s.

He knew the Websters pretty well, too.
Girlfriend, he was real.
Remember we used to sit up in my house
pouring tea, dropping beads,
dishing this one and that one?

You got any T-cells left?
The singularity of death. The mourning thousands.
It begins with one and grows by one
and one and one and one
until there’s no one left to count.

Melvin Dixon, One by One, Love’s Instruments, 1995, Tia Chuca Press, Chicago

Born in Stanford, Conneticutt in May of 1950, Melvin Dixon was a creative writer, as a novelist, poet, translator and literary critic. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 1971 with a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies, and earned a Master of Arts in 1973 and a Doctor of Philosophy in 1975 from Boston University.

Dixon wrote poems, novels, short stories, essays, critical studies, and translated many works from French. Searching for his literary heritage, he traveled throughout the Caribbean, Africa and Europe, and researched such men as Leopold Senghor, the poet and former president of Senegal; the Haitian novelist and poet Jacques Roumain; and author Richard Nathaniel Wright, whose 1945 book “Black Boy” became an instant success and a work of historical and sociological significance.

Melvin Dixon wrote openly about his homosexuality in both his published and unpublished works. As an active spokesman for gay communities and their issues, he incorporated the complexities of gay lifestyle and identity, as well as his identity as a black man, into his work. Dixon’s first collection of poems, “Change of Territory” published in 1983, examined the involuntary journeys of African slavery and the later historical migration of African Americans from the southern United States to the north. In 1987, he wrote a critical study of African-American literature entitled “Ride Out the Wilderness”.

The influence of James Baldwin’s work upon Dixon’s writings can be seen in his two novels, the 1989 “Trouble the Water”, a novel of family reconciliation which won the Nikon Award for Excellence in Minority Fiction, and the 1991 “Vanishing Rooms”, a novel of homophobia and racism revolving around three people who are each affected by the death of a gay man in New York City. “Vanishing Rooms” was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award for Gay Men’s Fiction. Dixon’s final volume of poetry, entitled “Love’s Instruments” published posthumously in 1995, was a tribute to gay men with AIDS-related illness.

Melvin Dixon translated many works from French to English. Included in these works are his translations of Haitian poet Jacques Roumain’s poetry; Professor of American Literature at the University of Paris, Genevierve Fabre’s history of black theater since 1945, entitled “Drumbeats, Masks, and Metaphor” and  published in 1983; and “The Collected Poetry of Leopold Seder Senghor”, published in 1991. This translation of Senghor’s work contains the majority of his poetic oeuvre, including his “lost” poems.

Dixon was an Assistant Professor at Williams College from 1975 to 1980, and a Professor of English Literature at Queens College of the City University of New York from 1980 until 1992. He also taught at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, Fordham University and Columbia University. Dixon received a number of awards and fellowships including a Fulbright lectureship in Senegal from 1985 to 1986.

Melvin Dixon was in a long-term partnership with Richard Horowitz, an openly gay man who worked from 1983 to 1987 as a program officer of the Ford Foundation in Dakar, West Africa. Upon Horowitz’s return to the United States, he worked with the Ford Foundation to finance projects for AIDS patients internationally. He died at his summer home in Provincetown, Massachusetts, from complications due to AIDS in July of 1991. He was forty-four years in age.

Melvin Dixon had been battling AIDS since an initial diagnosis in 1989. At the age of forty-two, he died from AIDS-related complications in Stanford, Conneticutt, on October 28, 1992, one year after his partner. The Melvin Dixon Papers, which contain primarily of manuscripts, correspondence, notes, and journals, are part of the Archives and Manuscripts department of the New York Public Library. They are housed at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division, located at 515 Malcolm X Boulevard, New York City.

Note: “this one” in the second stanza of the poem, “One by One”, refers to Dixon’s lover, Richard Horowitz

Emilio Baz Vlaud

The Artwork of Emilio Baz Vlaud

Born in Mexico City in 1918, Emilio Baz Vlaud was a painter whose work mostly included portraiture and scenes in the style of  Costumbrismo, images of local Hispanic life, customs, and mannerisms executed in  both artistic Realism and Romanticism.  Influenced by the Magical Realism movement that spread through the art and literary worlds after the first World War, Vlaud was known for his meticulous brushwork and his trompe-d’oeil technique. 

Emilio Baz Vlaud, at a very early age, had great skill in the arts. He would often watch his older gay brother, Ben-Hur Baz Vlaud, a 1926 graduate of the Academy de San Carlos and twelve years his senior, working on his own precisionist drawings and paintings. At the age of seventeen, Emilio Vlaud executed his first self-portrait, the 1935 “Self Portrait as a Teenager”, a highly refined work that is closely related to a self-portrait painted by his brother in the same year. In his self-portrait, Emilio shows himself with perfectly combed hair and dressed in a white shirt. He is  holding a green pencil at an angle, a position which visually divides the canvas in two,  and is shown gripping his elbow with his left hand. 

Emilio Baz Vlaud entered the Academia de San Carlos in 1938 where he initially studied architecture before changing his vocation to painting. He later took courses at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas, where he studied under the strict training of painter Manuel Rodríguez Lozano, an openly gay artist whose work is often linked to the works of metaphysical painter Giorgio de Chirico. Vlaud made several visits over the years to his older brother who had moved to New York City and was working as a successful commercial illustrator for magazines, such as Newsweek and Time. 

In 1950, Emilio Vlaud relocated to San Miguel Allende, situated in the far eastern part of Guanajuato. He exhibited his work in several collective exhibitions, where he showed his work alongside such prominent artists as painters and muralists Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros. In 1951, Vlaud had his first solo exhibition; his flamenco-inspired technique of applying dry oil paints to surfaces by means of small strokes of a short brush were praised by critics and his fellow artists. During his eight year stay in San Miguel Allende, he received a gold medal for artistic merit from the University of Guanajuato. 

In 1962, Emilio Baz Vlaud entered the Monastery of Santa María de la Resurrecion for the purpose of studying psychoanalysis. After several years, he abandoned these studies to return to his vocation as a painter. Although Vlaud is mostly know for his portraiture and scenes done before 1955, he also went through an intense period of abstraction during the 1970s. In 1984, his work was presented at a collective exhibition entitled “Siete Pintores (Seven Painters)” at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. Emilio Baz Vlaud died in 1991. 

Insert Images:

Emilio Baz Viaud, “Self Portrait as a Teenager”, 1925, Watercolor, Pencil and Dry Brush on Board, 60 x 39.7 cm, Private Collection

Emilio Baz Vlaud, “El Coco”, circa 1955, Oil on Masonite, 50 x 40 cm, Blaisten Collection

Emilio Baz Vlaud, “Self Portrait in Blue Shirt”, 1941, Watercolor, Pencil and Dry Brush on Board, 100 x 65.5 cm, Blaisten Collection, Mexico City

 

Carl Phillips: “How They Woke, Finally, in a Bed of Ferns”

Photographers Unknown, Twelve Men Seated

How they woke, finally, in a bed of ferns — horsetail ferns.
How they died singing. All night, meanwhile, as if somehow
the fox’s mouth that so much of this life has amounted to had
briefly unshut itself — and the moth that’s trapped there,
unharmed, gone free — a snow fell; the snow-filled street
seemed a toppled column, like the one in the mind called
doubt, or that other one,
                                              persuasion, the broken one, in three
clean pieces …Well, it’s morning, now. Out back, the bamboo
bows and stiffens. Thoughts in a wind. Thoughts like (but
nobody saying it): Nobody, I think, knows me better by
now than you do. Or like: The bamboo, bowing, stiffening,
seems like nothing so much as, in this light, competing forms
of betrayal that, given time, must surely cancel each other
out, close your eyes; patience; wait. Maybe less the foliage
than the promise of it. Less that shame exists, maybe, than that
the world keeps saying it does, know it, hold on tight to it, as if
the world were rumor, how every rumor
                                                                           rings true, lately.
When I’m ashamed, I make a point of reminding myself what
is shame but to have shown — to have let it show — that variety
of love that goes hand in hand with having wished to please
and, in pleasing, for a while belong. So shame can, like love, be
an eventual way through? There’s a minor chord sparrows make
with doves that’s not the usual business — it’s not sad at all, any of it:
this always waiting for what I’ve always waited for; this not being
able to assign to what’s missing some shape, a name; this body
neither antlered nor hooved — brave too, this body, unapologetic…

Carl Phillips, Blow It Back

Born in Everett, Washington in 1959, Carl Phillips is an American writer and poet. As a child of a military family, he moved frequently around the United States in his formative years until his family settled in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Phillips earned his Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University and Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Massachusetts. He continued his education at Boston University, where he earned a Master of Arts in Creative Writing.

Along with other black poets such as John Keene, Natasha Trethewey, and Major Jackson, Carl Phillips was a member of the Dark Room Collective. Founded after the funeral of James Baldwin in 1987, this collective began as an intergenerational reading series which hosted and cultivated the work of black poets of various aesthetic movements. Many of the current leading figures in the poetic movement had their beginnings with the Dark Room Collective.

Beginning as a teenager, Phillips wrote poetry until his entry into Harvard University on a scholarship, where he began to study Latin and Greek. It was not until 1990, while coming to terms with his gay identity, that he resumed his poetic writing. A classicist by training, Phillips often uses classical forms in his work and often references classical art, music, and literature. He received critical acclaim early in his career with the publication of his debut collection, “In the Blood”, which won the Samuel Morse Poetry Prize in 1992.

Carl Phillips’s second collection, “Cortège”, was nominated in 1995 for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Six years later, his collections, “Pastoral” in 2000 and “The Tether” in 2001, were both well received, with “Pastoral” winning the 2001 Lambda Literary Award for Best Poetry. Two of Phillips’s works, the 2009 “Speak Low” and the 2011 “Double Shadow”, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Poetry, were finalists for the National Book Award.

In addition to over a dozen volumes of poetry, Carl Phillips has published works of criticism and translation. Two collections of essays, “Coin of the Realm: Essays on Life and the Art of Poetry” and “The Art of Daring: Risk, Restlessness, Imagination”, were published by Graywolf Press in 2004 and 2014, respectively. Phillips’s translation of Sophocles’s “Philoctetes” was published in 2003 by the Oxford University Press.

Before teaching English at the university level, Phillips taught Latin at several high schools in Massachusetts. He is currently a Professor of English at Saint Louis’s Washington University, where he also teaches Creative Writing. Phillips was elected a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2006 and, since 2011, has served as a judge for the Yale Series of Younger Poets.

Carl Phillips’s honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Library of Congress. He is the recipient of the Academy of American Poets Fellowship, an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Academy of American Poets Prize, and a Pushcart Prize, and he has been inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Mati Gelman

Mati Gelman, “Joel”, Date Unknown, Trending Deities Series, Photograph, Computer Graphics

Born in Hungary, Mati Gelman is a commercial and fine art photographer who spent his early years living in Israel. Interested in the processes of nature and humans’ interaction with them, he initially pursued a vocation in the field of science and earned a Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry from the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa and a Masters of Science in Chemistry from the Bar Han University in Tel Aviv. Upon moving to New York City in 2015, Gelman decided to enhance his self-taught photographic skills with technical courses at the International Center for Photography and the Pratt Institute, both located in Manhattan.

Gelman’s work aesthetic focuses on the connections between the forces of nature and the human body. His images explore the issues of human integration with nature, sexuality, and queerness; they are heavily influenced by legends and fairytales, which have had a lasting impact on human society. Gelman tends to create scenes which provoke an ominous sensation in order to induce a sense of the unknown. As human beings are pattern recognizers and often prescribe meaning to unaccustomed phenomena, the elements of Gelman’s works are intentionally left open to the viewers’ interpretations.

Mati Gelman creates stories and shapes his characters through both his imagination and his life experiences. His work is a blend of photography and computer graphics. Using a Sony a7R11 with a 24-70 lens, Gelman photographs his posed subjects and continues his work with Lightroom for minor adjustments and Photoshop for the basic effects. Gelman won the ViewPoint Gallery International Photography competition for his work entitled “Flight”, an image of a figure mid-air surrounded by billowing cloth in the light of a sunset. His “Entangled”, a figure seemingly suspended by strips of white cloth, won first place in the 2018 Chromatic Awards. Gelman has also won awards at the Annual Fine Art Photography Awards, FAPA, in 2019 and 2020.

Besides his fine art photography, Gelman has executed photo shoots for off-Broadway theater productions. He shot the promotional images for playwright and director Asher Gelman’s 2018 theater production, “Afterglow”, a character study which explored the dynamics of an open gay relationship involving three personality archetypes. Mati Gelman’s work also includes photo shoots for the following plays: “Diaspora”, “Safeword”, “Eco Village”, “Counting Sheep”, “We Are the Tigers”, and “Medusa”.

The title image “Joel” and the middle insert image, title unknown, are from Mati Gelman’s “Trending Deities” series which explores the parallels between ritual and worship in both religion and social media. Using both modern and traditional references throughout the series, Gelman’s work uses cinematic proportions as a reference to smartphone screens and, by multiplying the characters and placing them in ritualistic activities, depicts the virtual cult-like following that is adherent on social media platforms. The color palettes and compositions were inspired by Renaissance, Greco-Roman, and Medieval art.

The work of Mati Gelman can be found at the artist’s sites: https://www.matigelman.com and Instagram @matigelman .

John Giorno

 

Photographers Unknown, Thirteen Men Who Traveled Here

An unemployed
machinist
An unemployed machinist
who travelled
here
who travelled here
from Georgia
from Georgia 10 days ago
10 days ago
and could not find
a job
and could not find a job
walked
into a police station
walking into a police station
yesterday and said
yesterday
and said:

“I’m tired
of being scared
I’m tired of being scared.”

—John Giorno, An Unemployed Machinist, Balling Buddha, 1970

Born in New York City in December of 1936, John Giorno was a poet and performance artist. Raised in both Brooklyn and Roslyn Heights, Long Island, he graduated from New York’s Columbia University in 1958. In his early life, Giorno was a muse to and entered into romantic relationships with other artists, among them Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol, whom he met in 1963 during Warhol’s first solo exhibition at the Stable Gallery in New York City. Giorno starred in Warhol’s 1963 four-minute film entitled “John Washing” and also appeared in Warhol’s eight-hour 1964 silent film, “Sleep”, the plot of which entailed Giorno sleeping on camera.

Inspired by his associations with Rauschenberg, Warhol, and Jasper Johns, Giorno began to appropriate found textual imagery to his poetry. An example of this can be found in the1964 poem “The American Book of the Dead”. Portions of this poem were used in works contained in Giorno’s first full collection “Poems”, published in 1967. Later meetings with sound poet and performance artist Brion Gysin and writer William S. Burroughs led to Giorno applying cut-up and montage techniques to found texts, and, influenced by the work of Gysin, the recording of his first audio poem pieces.

Established as an active presence in New York’s art scene, John Giorno collaborated with Brion Gysin on “Subway Sound” in 1965, and with Robert Rauschenberg in 1966 on “Nine Evenings of Theater and Engineering”. From 1967 to 1969, John Giorno presented his “Electronic Sensory Poetry Environments”, a series produced in collaboration with synthesizer creator Robert Moog and other artists. These psychedelic happenings and poetry installations were shown at St. Marks Church in Manhattan. In 1965, Giorno founded Giorno Poetry Systems, a non-profit production company that connected new audiences to poetry by the use of new technologies, engaged in political organizing, and created new artworks.

Giorno organized the first Dial-A-Poem event in 1968 at the non-profit Architectural League of New York. This poetic event was repeated at the Museum of Modern Art from 1969 to 1970, and resulted in a series of long-playing records issued by Giorno Poetry Systems. Poets who participated in these events included Patti Smith, William Burroughs, Eldridge Cleaver, and Bobby Seale. John Giorno was unapologetic in his use of politically-charged and sexually salacious content; he used his work to draw attention to his own status as a gay man, police violence in America, and the countless deaths caused by the war in Vietnam.

In the late 1960s, John Giorno’s work evolved to include the appropriation of entire texts from newspapers, the development of double-column poems, montages of diverse and often radically different texts, and the extensive use of repetition both across and down the page.This use of repetitive words and phrases reproduced textually the echos and distortions which occurred in Giorno’s vocal performances. Several of these poems were included in his 1970 “Balling Buddha”.

After traveling to India in 1971 and meeting His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche, Giorno became one of the early Western students of Tibetan Buddhism, a practice in which he participated for several decades. His early poetic works occasionally reflect Asian religious themes; but those after the 1970 collection, “Cancer in My Left Ball”, are a mixture of Buddhist and Western practices and poetic techniques seen through Giorno’s original interpretation. For instance in his 1970-72 poem “Guru Rinpoche”, Giorno mixed pop imagery with sacred sutras and portrayed gay eroticism as a form of spiritual devotion.

In 1972, John Giorno began releasing compilation records under the newly incorporated Giorno Poetry Systems media label. Presented through cassettes, long-playing records and compact discs, these audio works included new wave and punk music, and an assortment of vocal artists, musicians, and poets. Giorno Poetry Systems expanded in 1984 with the establishment of the AIDS Treatment Project, an emergency response to the impacts of the epidemic on artists’ lives. This project provided funds for artists living with AIDS through the early 2000s, when it was officially transformed into the Poets and Artists Fund.

Retired from performing in 2017, Giorno spent the last two years of his life in meditation, composing his poetry, and editing his memoir “Great Demon Kings”. John Giorno died of a heart attack at age eighty-two in October of 2019 at his home in Lower Manhattan. At the time of his death, he was married to Swiss-born Ugo Rondinone, a mixed-media artist known for his paintings and large-scale land-art sculptures.

Notes:
The john Giorno Foundation can be found at: https://www.giornofoundation.org/the-foundation
There are two interesting reads for those interested in John Giorno and his work. The first is an interview between journalist and essayist Marcus Boon and John Giorno, which is presented by Bomb Magazine, It can be found at: https://bombmagazine.org/articles/john-giorno-1/

The second is an article, written in 1994, by journalist and author Robert Coe and entitled “Becoming Buddha: John Giorno”. This more extensive biographical piece can be found at The Buddhist Review, Tricycle, located at: https://tricycle.org/magazine/becoming-buddha/

Oscar Santasusagna

The Artwork of Oscar Santasusagna

Born in Barcelona in 1973, Oscar Santasusagna is a self-taught Spanish artist who began drawing and painting at an early age. The style and techniques of his work have been influenced by the many artists he has studied, including illustrators and painters Andrew and Newell Conners Wyeth; narrative painter Hernan Bas, best known for his scenes of dandies and waifs; painter and draftsman David Hockney; and printmaker and landscape painter Winslow Homer, among others.

Santasusagna believes that a well-executed painting must make a connection with the viewer and produce an emotional response. His work is narrative in style, with each painting accompanied by  a poem or text that relays a personal message to the viewer. The source of these messages are derived from either a song heard, an image seen, or a personal  experience he has had. The subjects most often presented in Santasusagna’s work are the issues of loneliness, friendship, freedom and equality, homosexuality, and man’s relationship to the natural world.

Since 2015, Oscar Santasusagna has exhibited his paintings at many solo exhibitions throughout Spain. These include his 2015 exhibition “Desperta de la Realitat” and his 2016 “Apunts Dispersos” , both of which were held at Barcelona’s Galeria Moraima. In 2018, Santasusagna had a solo exhibition, entitled “Wanderlust”, at the Galeria Departure located in Barcelona and, in 2021, an exhibition in the United States,  entitled “Fables Keeper”, at the Contemporanco Art Gallery in Asheville, North Carolina.

Santasusagna has exhibited in several collective exhibitions, including  the 2015 Seleccio d’Artistes held at Galeria Escolà in Barcelona, the 2021 Una Mirada LGBTI+ exhibition held at the Taller Balam Gallery in Barcelona, and the 2021 Fundació Barcelona Olimpica, where he won third prize for his painting “Sempre hay un Comienso para cada Historia”. He  has also been finalist at the Sanvicens Painting Contest in Sitges, the Concurs FMPC held in Tarragona, and the annual Premium Painting Contest held in the city of Centelles.

Oscar Santasusagna collaborated with theater playwright Bill Lattanzi on his musical comedy production “Jenny Must Die”, which was premiered at the Providence, Rhode Island, Fringe Festival in 2020. He also painted the book cover illustration for “Projecto Wemen”, published by Madrid’s Editorial Silex in 2018. Santasusagna’s paintings on in many private collections in Spain, Belgium, Canada and the United States.

Top Insert Image: Oscar Santasusagna, “Ode for Tenderness”, 2015, Acrylic on Paper 

Oscar Santasusagna’s work can be found at his website located at https://www.santasusagna.com and at https://www.flickr.com/photos/santasusagna .

Peder Severin Krøyer

Peder Severin Krøyer, “Hunters of Skagen”, 1898, Oil on Canvas, 85 x 139 cm, Private Collection

Peder Severin Krøyer, “Italian Field Laborers, Abruzzo”, 1880, Oil on Canvas, 124.3 x 186 cm, Funen’s Art Museum, Odense, Denmark

Born in July of 1851 in Stavanger, Peder Severin Krøyer was one of the foremost Impressionist painters from Denmark. After moving to Copenhagen at a young age, he began studying painting at the Royal Danish Academy, under realist portrait painter Frederik Vermehren. Kreyer completed his studies in 1870. 

Krøyer had his first exhibition in 1871 at the Charlottenborg Palace, where he presented a portrait of his friend, painter Frans Schwartz. In 1873, he was awarded a gold medal for his work and also received a scholarship. Establishing a long-standing patronage, Danish art collector Heinrich Hirschsprung bought in 1874 the first of many paintings by Krøyer.

From 1877 to 1881, Peder Krøyer traveled throughout Europe where he studied, met artists and developed his skills at painting. Staying in Paris under the patronage of Hirschsprung, he studied under portrait and religious painter Léon Bonnat and exhibited his work in Denmark. Krøyer, during his stay in Paris, became acquainted with the works of the impressionists such as Edouard Manet, Camille Pissarro, Paul Cezanne, and Georges Seurat. Impressed with their work, he kept his palette light in tones and loosened his brushstroke. 

Returning to Denmark in 1882, Krøyer became associated with the Skagen artist colony, a group influenced by the French Impressionists. The colony’s artists placed an emphasis on the effects of light and open-air scenes of local life. Krøyer divided his time between Copenhagen, where he continued his portraiture work, and Skagan, where he painted the artist colony and local landscape.

Peder Krøyer encountered painter Marie Martha Triepcke on a trip to Paris in 1888. They married in July of 1889 at her parents’ residence in Germany. Settled with his wife in the Skagen colony, Krøyer executed his first major oil painting, the 1888 “Hip Hip Hurrah! Artists Party at Skagen”. Inspired by a gathering at painter Michael Ancher’s residence, the painting depicts men and women toasting with champagne amid lush trees; gentle sunlight is seen being cast upon the participants and their table.

A champion of plein air painting, Krøyer is best known for his carefree images of life in Skagen. He was fascinated with the depiction of light; his main study was the depiction of the “blue hour”, that point as the day becomes evening when the sky and sea merge in the same tone of blue. Examples of this light depiction are the 1892 “Summer Evening at Skagen” and the 1893 “Summer Evening on Skagen’s South Beach with Anna Ancher ad Marie Krøyer”. 

Over the last ten years of his life, Krøyer’s  eyesight gradually failed him until he was totally blind. He painted almost to the end, even executing masterpieces while half-blind. One of his last important large-scale works was the 1906 “Midsummer’s Eve Bonfire on Skagen Beach”, now in the Skagens Museum. After many visits to the hospital suffering from bouts of mental illness, Peder Severin Krøyer passed away in Skagen at the age of fifty-eight in November of 1909.

Peder Krøyer achieved many prestigious awards during his lifetime, including induction into the Legion of Honor in 1888. The largest collection of Krøyer’s work can be found in the Skagens Museum; other museum collections include the Danish National Gallery, the Frederiksborg Museum, the Musée d’Orsey in Paris, the Philadelphia Museum, and the Royal Danish Academy in Copenhagen.

Insert Images: Peder Severin Krøyer, “Self Portrait”, 1897, Oil on Panel, 40.9 x 31.6 cm, Hirschsprung Collection, Copenhagen, Denmark

Peder Severin Krøyer,, “The Artist’s House”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas

Photographer Unknown, “Peder Severin Krøyer:, Date Unknown

Küçük İskender: “You Should Have a Macedonian Name: Nicola”

Photographers Unknown, Parva Scaena (Brief Scenes): Photo Set Twenty-Four

you decerebrate the rose, don’t do this
verses, cannot find the poems they deserted
you become a humiliated evening
your hair wet to your waist
your eyes
turned away and fixed on a couple of cracked glasses
left on a claret, velvet coverlet
almost exploded. Soon to blow
before the storm
closely shielding your face, poor and lonely child
storyless, bashful and amicable
you should have a macedonian name: nicola
I sat on your balcony, drank Choπcko beer,
over the way were
grand men wounded by the earth
grand women are sleeping
grand women wounded on account of grand men
turned into tramps by grand men
a pen knife, holds its blade inside like a secret
the pen knife I put on the table on leaving
a perfect portrayal
if it were nicola what would appear
somehow, not far away
was a beautiful graveyard where songs are laid

Küçük İskender, Nicola, Ascaracus Journal of Gay Poetry, February 2016, Translation by Caroline Stockford

Born Derman İskender Över in Istanbul in May of 1964, Küçük İskender was a Turkish critic, actor, and one of Turkey’s few openly gay poets. He studied at Istanbul University’s Cerrahpaşa Faculty of Medicine, where he left in his last year. İskender later studied for three years at the university’s Department of Sociology. After leaving, he pursued his passions: cinema, theater and poetry.

Starting from the 1980s, İskender published poems, essays, and criticisms in various literary magazines, including the National Young Art Magazine where they appeared under the name Alexander Över. His first poem, “Milliyet Genç Sanat (National Young Art)”, was published under the name İskender Över. His poetry began to be published professionally in 1985 when Adam Sanat Magazine accepted his work.

Küçük İskender was one of the top ten poets in Italy’s 2000 European Young Poets Competition, and in the same year, was awarded at the annual poetry, film, and photography competition held in honor of Turkish poet Orhon Murat Ariburnu. Between 2001 and 2002, he was a speaker at poetry performances in Germany and the Netherlands, and at Berlin’s 2003 First Gay Turkish Congress. In 2004,  İskender lectured and read poetry at universities in New York and North Carolina; he also joined panels and workshops at various educational facilities in Turkey.

Reminiscent of the poems of García Lorca and Arthur Rimbaud in their urgency, İskender’s work is close to the clarity of expression found in the works of Spanish poet Luis Cernuda. His poems contain many sensual affirmations of gay life, but they also contain political and cultural commentaries. Many of his poems, written outside the traditional style of Turkish poetry, were polemic and abrasive in their language and spoke of injustice, the arrogance of those who plunder others, and intolerance in regard to sexual identity.

In additional to his poems and poetry collections, İskender wrote three novels: the 1998 “Flu’es”, “Cehenneme Gitmo Yöntemleri (Gitmo: Methods in Hell)” published in 1999, and the 2000 “Zatülcenp”. He also acted in two of director Mustafa Altioklar’s movies, the 1997 “Agir Roman” and the 2002 “O Simdi Asker”. 

Küçük İskender was diagnosed with cancer in June of 2018. His last year was spent in the intensive care unit of the state hospital in Istanbul. He died on July 2nd in 2019 and is buried in Zincirlikuyu Cemetery in Istanbul.

Imre Szobotka

Imre Szobotka, “Fiatalkori Onarckép (Self Portrait as a Young Man)”, 1912-14, Oil on Canvas, 45.5 x 38.2 cm, Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest

Born in Zalaegerszeg, Hungary, in September of 1890, Imre Szobotka was a painter and engraver. Between 1905 and 1910, he studied at Budapest’s School of Design under painter Ignác Újváry. Szobotka traveled to Venice in 1908 for a study trip and traveled to Rome in 1909, this time accompanied by his friend Ervin Bossámyl. He relocated to Paris in 1911, where he lived at the residence of avant-garde sculptor and graphic artist József Csáky, one of the first Parisian sculptors to apply pictorial Cubism to his art.

Szobotka attended the 1911 Independent Salon in Paris, where he viewed the works of the Cubist painters. Inspired by their work and with the encouragement of his friend, the Cubist painter József Csáky, he enrolled at the La Palette School of Art in 1912, where he studied under Cubist painters Jean Metzinger and Henri Le Fauconnier. By the spring of 1913, Szobotka’s works, exhibited in the Independent Salon, were already noticed by the French critics, including writer and critic Guillaume Apollinaire. 

During World War I, Imre Szobotka was interned as a prisoner of war, starting in 1914 in Bretagne and later, at Saint Brieuc, France, until his release in 1919. The landscapes, still lifes, and portraits made in the internment period were experiments in cubism, symbolism, and orphism, a cubist offshoot that focused on abstraction and bright colors. These works, rare examples of Hungarian Cubism,  included his 1914 “Pipe Smoker”, the 1916 “Sailor”, and watercolor illustrations he produced for poet Paul Claude’s “Revelation”.

After his return to Paris in 1919, Szobotka’s paintings contained a more naturalistic expression. He exhibited this new work first in 1921 in Belvedere, a commune in the Vesubie Valley north of Nice, and, between 1929 and 1944, in shows at the Tamás Gallery, the Fränkel Salon, and the Mária Valéria Street gallery. The solid, defined construction of these landscape works by Szobotka insured him a place among the Nagybánya artists, whose work was focused on plain-air painting.

Imre Szobotka was a founding member of Képzőművészek Új Társasága, the New Society of Fine Artists, and presented his work in its exhibitions. For his 1929 “Mill in Nagybánya”, he won the landscape award presented by the Szinyei Society, an artistic association founded after painter and educator Pál Szinyei Merse’s death to promote new artists. Szobotka would later enter the “Mill in Nagybánya” at the 1938 Venice Biennial. In 1941, he won the Szinyei Society’s grand award for his exhibited work. 

From 1945 onward, Szobotka produced some graphic work; however, his main concentration was on his landscapes. He spent his last summers in the countryside near the village of Zsemmye where he painted pastoral landscapes. Szobotka became president of the painting division of the Fine and Applied Arts Alliance in 1952. For the body of his work, he received the Munkácsy Award in 1954 and the Socialis Work Order of Merit in 1960. Imre Szobotka died in March of 1961, at the age of seventy, in the city of Budapest.

Imre Szobotka’s “Self Portrait as a Young Man” is one of the key creations of his Parisian years. It shows his embrace of the elements of cubism, particularly the coloring and abstraction of its orphism branch. The main emphasis of the work is not the formal structure with its conventionally postured figure, but rather the way the light breaks its components into prisms of color. Szobotka emphasized his sense of light value and his translucent colorization to form a refined play of reflections, which cut the painting’s solid forms into colored shards.

Insert Images:

Imre Szobotka, “Sailor”, 1916, Oil on Canvas, 35 x 29 cm, Janus Pannonius Museum, Péca

Imre Szobotka, “Gathering Apples”, 1930, Oil on Canvas, 55 x 76 cm, Henman ottó Museum, Miskolc

Imre Sobotka, “Self Portrait”, 1912, Oil on Cardboard, 53 x 45 cm, Private Collection

Enrique Toribio

Enrique Toribio, Red Series, Limited Edition Series, Model Unknown

Enrique Toribio is a Spanish photographer who currently lives and works in Madrid. He studied Design at Madrid’s School of Arts and Crafts and later earned a degree in Industrial Pattern Design. Since the mid-1980s, Toribio has been involved in couture costume design for theatrical productions of work by Chekhov, Ibsen, and Tennessee Williams. He has also designed costumes for cabaret and dance productions, both Spanish and classical. 

Beginning in 2003, Toribio has concentrated on his photography with an emphasis in figurative and portraiture work. Particularly interested in the aesthetic treatment of body and facial expressions and textures, he endeavors to recreate the appearance of mid-twentieth century photography with the use of digital technology.

Enrique Toribio has participated in several international photography exhibitions, including the Second Great LGBT Photo Show at Leslie & Lohman in New York City, and multiple exhibitions in Spain, including “ABRAZOS” at the Museum of Contemporary Art Conde Duque in Madrid. He has received recognition for his work at Argentina’s FotoRevista competitions in both 2017 and 2018, and received Third Prize at FotoRevista in February of 2018. Toribio’s work has also appeared in several digital photographic magazines and has been included in Joris Buiks’ 2011 phtotographic anthology “Turnon: Tattos”, published by Bruno Gmunder.

Enrique Toribio’s photographic work is available through Saatchi Art: https://www.saatchiart.com/etoribio

The artist’s website is located at:  https://etoribio.com

 

Gabriel Morcillo Raya

The Paintings of Gabriel Morcillo Raya

Born in Granada, Spain, in February of 1887, Gabriel Morcillo Raya was a painter and teacher. His oeuvre is composed mainly of figurative works and landscapes influenced by Orientalism, a movement which was particularly influential in Spain, due to Spain’s exceedingly dense and complex  relations with Islamic culture.

Gabriel Raya initially studied painting under the tutorage of his aunt Paquita Raya. He later attended Granada’s School of Fine Arts, where he studied under landscape and genre painters Miguel Vico Hernández and José de Larrocha González. In 1907, Raya relocated in Madrid to continue his studies under Valencian painter and illustrator Cecilio Plá y Gallardo: however, due to financial reasons, he was impelled to return to his hometown of Granada. In 1910, Raya received a grant from the Granada Provincial Council which enabled him to travel back to Madrid for further studies. 

Raya exhibited his work during his years in Madrid and earned in 1912 an honorable mention for the work he presented at National Exhibition of Fine Arts. In the same year, he was appointed director of the Residence of Painters of the Alhambra. Two years later, Raya returned to Granada and, in 1918, was awarded a scholarship to the Academy of Painting in Rome, which he did not accept. His work began to challenge the pictorial content of the time with its more concrete detail and use of movement and color.

In 1925, Gabriel Raya became an academician of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, Granada’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts, and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts at San Telmo. He accepted the position as Professor of Decorative Painting and Natural Figure in 1927 at Granada’s School of Arts and Crafts, where he influenced several generations of local artists, among whom was the painter José Guerrero whose later work  became known for its chromatic masses of color, and Miguel Pérez Aguilera, whose development of his own pictorial language played an important role in contemporary Spanish art.

Raya had his first exhibition of his orientalist works in 1944 in Granada and achieved great success at exhibitions held in Buenos Aires, New York City, and Venice, Italy. During the period from  1955 to 1960,  he traveled to Madrid to paint portraits of Francisco Franco and his wife, and Admiral Carrero Blanco and other members of Madrid’s high bourgeoisie. Raya received the Silver Medal of the Red Cross, a decoration for those people whose voluntary actions supported the Spanish Red Cross, and, in 1951, the Grand Cross of the Order of Alfonso X the Wise for merit in the field of culture. 

Gabriel Morcillo Raya passed away in Granada in December of 1973, at the age of eighty-five. Several of his works, including the 1916 “Dwarf El Puerto Real”, can be seen in the collection of Granada’s Museum of Fine Arts. 

Note: An interesting article on the orientalist movement is “Editorial: Spain and Orientalism” by Anna McSweeney and Claudia Hopkins which is located at Taylor & Francis Online:  https://doi.org/10.1080/17561310.2017.1316039

Insert Images: 

Gabriel Morcillo Raya, “Muchachos”, Initial Stucy, Date Unknown, Watercolor on Paper, 57 x 47 cm, Private Collection

Gabriel Morcillo Raya, “Self Portrait”, Date Unkonw, Oil on Canvas, Private Collection

Herbert List

Photography by Herbert List

Herbert List was a classically educated artist who combined his fascination with  Surrealism and Classicism with his love for photography. His austere, classically posed black and white compositions, particularly his Greek and Italian homoerotic nudes, became a prominent influence on both fashion and contemporary photography. 

Born in Hamburg, Germany, in October of 1903 to a wealthy business family, Herbert List  studied art and literature between 1921 and 1923 at the University of Heidelberg. In 1923, he began to travel for the family’s coffee business, Kaffee-Import Firma List & Heineken. List made contacts and visited plantations in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Brazil and El Salvador; during this four year period, he began to record his travels photographically.  

Through his connections to the European avant-garde, List became associated with  American photographer Andreas Bernhard, known for his dynamic black and white city scenes and natural structures. Bernhard  introduced him to the Rolleiflex camera which allowed for more sophisticated compositions. Beginning in 1930, influenced by the Bauhaus artists and  the emerging surrealist movement, List began photographing still life and portraits of friends, often employing draped fabrics, masks, and double exposures. 

Once the National Socialist Party was in control of Germany, the Gestapo began to pay attention to Herbert List’s openly gay lifestyle and Jewish heritage. In 1936, he left Germany for Paris and decided to begin a professional career as a photographer. During 1937 List maintained a studio in London and held his first solo show at Galerie du Chasseur d’Images, the first Paris gallery dedicated to photography.  Starting in 1936 with a reference from fashion photographer George Hoyningen-Huene to Harper’s Bazaar magazine, List began a three year period working as a fashion photographer for various magazines, including Verve, Vogue, and Life.

Dissatisfied  with fashion photography, List returned to his still life and portraiture  work. He traveled throughout Greece from 1937 to 1939 where he took photographs of ancient temples, sculptures and landscapes; two hundred of these photographs would be published in his 1953 “Licht Über Hellas: Eine Symphonie in Bildern”. During this time, List supported himself with work for magazines and the press, and by doing portraiture work. 

Working in Athens, Herbert List hoped to escape World War II; however, when troops invaded Greece, he was forced in 1941 to return to Germany, where, due to a grandparent’s Jewish heritage, he was denied the ability to work or publish professionally. Near the end of the war in 1944, despite his Jewish heritage, he was drafted into the German military and served in Norway as a map designer. A trip to Paris during his military service allowed him the opportunity to photograph images of Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Jean Arp, Joan Miró, and other artists.

After the war, List continued to live in Munich until 1960, where he photographed its ruins and produced freelance photo essays for newspapers and magazines such as Look, Picture Post, Heute, and Harper’s Bazaar. List was made art editor in 1948 for the Swiss-German language, daily free newspaper Heute, which was published by the Allied Forces. In 1951 through an invitation by photojournalist Robert Capa, he started contributing photographs to Magnum, an international photographic cooperative. 

Through the next decade Herbert List focused his interest on photographing life in Italy. where he shot photo essays, street scenes, architectural views, and portraits using a 35 mm camera and a telephoto lens. His work became more spontaneous and was influenced by the Italian neorealist film movement and the work of his Magnum colleague Henri Cartier-Bresson. List ’s travels for his photographic work was extensive, including trips to Spain, France, Mexico, and the Caribbean. 

List’s publications include “Rom”, a collection of his work in Rome, published in Munich in 1950:“Caribia”, his Caribbean Island series published in 1958: “Nigeria”, published in 1963; and “Napoli”,  a 1962  collaboration with Italian director Vittorio de Sica. List is best known for his  1988 book “Junge Männer”, a collection of seventy images of young men lounging in the sun, wrestling, or gazing at the camera. The introduction of the book was written by English novelist Stephen Spender, who fictionalized List as Joachim Lenz in his novel “The Temple”. 

Herbert List passed away in Munich on the 4th of April in 1975. His archive of photographs, originally part of the Ratjen Collection, is now housed in the National Gallery in Washington DC. His work is held in many private and public collections, including New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, Boston’s Museum of Fine Art, Kunsthaus Zürich, Cologne’s Museum Ludwig, Munich;s Stadtmaueum, and the Musée Picasso in Paris.

Insert Images:

Herbert List, “Self Portrait, Herrsching”, 1947, Silver Gelatin Print

Herbert List, “Man and Dog”, 1939, Gelatin Silver Print

Photographer Unknown, “Herbert List and Max Scheler, Venice”, 1952, Silver Gelatin Print, Mas Scheler Estate

Herbert List, “Young Man Under Reed Roof, Torremolinos”, 1951, Gelatin Silver Print

Károly Ferenczy

Paintings by Károly Ferenczy

Born into a Viennese Hungarian-Jewish family in February of 1862, Károly Ferenczy was a teacher and a productive painter. He initially studied law and completed a degree at Vienna’s College of Economy. Encouraged by wife and painter, Olga Fialka, Ferenczy decided to explore painting and traveled to Italy. In 1887, he studied painting in Paris at the Académie Julain and began his painting career in Hungary, where he started painting in a naturalistic style, influenced by French painter Jules Bastien-Lepage. . 

In 1893, Ferenczy took his  family to Munich, where he attended free classes given by the Hungarian painter Simon Hollósy, a leading proponent of Realism and the Naturalist Movement.  Hollósy encouraged, among his students, an appreciation for the French painters and their techniques, particularly the practice of open air painting. Returning with his family to Hungary in 1896, Ferencsy joined fellow artists István Réti and János Thorma at Nagybánya, now called Baia Mare, a municipality on the Săsar River.

In 1896, Károly Ferenczy, along with Réti and Thorma, founded a summer retreat for artists at Nagybánya. This eventually developed into an artist colony which attracted many artists from Hungary interested in learning the open-air style taught by Simon Hollósy. Ferenczy has his first exhibition in Budapest in 1903, which began his career as an artist. Three years later, he accepted a teaching position at the Royal Hungarian Drawing School, now known as the Hungarian University of Fine Art. Ferenczy, however, remained strongly associated with the artist colony, where he would return in the summers to teach.

Considered the leader of Hungarian impressionism and post-impressionism, Ferenczy concentrated on mostly studio paintings, which consisted of a traditional array of genres, including nudes, urban scenes of circus performers, and still life paintings. In his later years, his work ranged from portraits to nudes and Biblical scenes. A highly productive artist in both lithography and painting, Károly Ferenczy died in March of 1917.

The Hungarian National Gallery in Budapest holds a collection of fifty-one paintings. The museum held a major retrospective of his work in November of 2011 which included nearly one hundred-fifty paintings, eighty prints and drawings, as well as photographs, letters, and catalogues related to his life and art. His work is held in other regional institutions, including the Frenczy Károly Museum, and in many private collections.

Insert Image: Károly ferenczy, “Self Portrait”, 1893, Oil on Canvas, 69 x 52 cm, Hungarian National Gallery

Fabrian Cháirez

The Artwork of Fabrian Cháirez

Born in Chiapas in 1987, Fabrian Cháirez is a Mexican artist whose work questions the predominate idea of masculinity and provides alternate representations of the male image. Already showing an artistic aptitude at an early age, he studied from 2007 to 2012 at the Faculty of Arts in the University of Sciences and Arts of Chiapas, where he graduated with a BFA in Visual Arts.

Cháirez is a figurative and traditional academically trained painter whose work emphasizes both composition and color. The body of his work has a neoclassical style and is influenced by symbolism and the Art Nouveau. Major art influences in his paintings have come from the works of Mexican Neo-Expressionist painter Julio Gálan: Spanish portrait and landscape painter Joaquin Sorolla, known for his sunlit canvases;  Mexican painter Saturnino Herrán, renowned for his majestic paintings of indigenous people; and Spanish portrait painter Dîego Velásquez, whose work became the model for the early realist and impressionist painters. 

Cháirez’s work, in response to the hostilities against the concept of sexual diversity, revolves around the image of the male body and the LBGTQ world. In his discussion of the stereotypes of Mexican virility, he uses the traditional Mexican archetypes, such as wrestlers, charros or horsemen, and the Mara Salvatrucha or criminal gangs, for his central figures. Cháirez places these generic images in suggestive and erotic scenarios in direct contrast to the existing social norm regarding the male image.

In 2015, Fabrian Cháirez had a solo exhibition entitled “The Garden of Delights” at the José María Velasco Gallery where he presented thirty pieces, including graphic work, illustrations, and oil paintings. In this body of work, he showed typical male figures with feminine features. In 2019, Cháirez exhibited his most controversial work, “The Revolution” at the Palacio de Belles Artes, a prominent cultural center located in central Mexico City. 

“The Revolution” is a thirty by twenty centimeter oil painting on canvas that represents the revolutionary general Emiliano Zapata, a stereotype of Mexican masculinity, who is shown seated naked, wearing a pink hat, tricolor sash, and high-heeled shoes, on a horse. Created in 2014, Cháirez produced this image as a example of other types of masculine representation. After the Mexican Ministry of Culture selected this work to be part of, and the poster image for, the 2019  exhibition entitled “Emiliano: Zapata After Zapata”, a controversy developed in the social media. Zapata’s relatives and supporters threatened to sue Cháirez and the National Institute of Fine Arts for denigrating the figure of the revolutionary leader. 

On December 11, 2019, a demonstration occurred within the Palacio de Belles Arts in which demands for the removal of “The Revolution” were made. A counter demonstration by LBGTQ activists defended the inclusion of the painting in the exhibition. A message from the Minister of Culture defended the painting’s inclusion and rejected any violence or censorship. On December 13th, a note, containing the personal opinion of the Zapata family,  was added next to the painting as a compromise, despite objections by Cháirez and his supporters. In January of 2020, “The Revolution” became part of the Tatxo Benet Censored Art Collection, a collection of all art banned for political, religious or moral reasons, soon to be permanently housed in Barcelona. 

Fabrian Cháirez’s website is located at: https://www.fabianchairez.com

Manuel Puig: “The Most Beautiful Thing”

 

Photographers Unknown, The Most Beautiful Thing

“—What is being a man for you? —It’s many things, but for me… well, the most beautiful thing about a man is that, being pretty, strong, but without making a fuss of strength, and that he is advancing safely. That he walks safely, like my waiter, that he speaks without fear, that he knows what he wants, where he is going, without fear of anything. “It’s an idealization, a guy like that doesn’t exist.” “Yes, he exists, he is like that.” —Well, it will give that impression, but inside, in this society, without power, no one can advance safely, as you say.—Being a man is much more than that, it means not putting anyone down, with an order, with a tip. Moreover, it is… not allowing anyone next to you to feel less, that no one next to you feel bad.”

Manuel Puig, The Kiss of the Spider Woman

Born in December of 1932 in General Villegas, Argentina, Manuel Puig was a novelist and a screenwriter. As there was no secondary school in his hometown, his parents sent him to Buenos Aires in 1946 where he attended College Ward, an educational institute with intercultural bilingual education at all levels. During his time at College Ward, Puig began to systematically read books. Starting with the Nobel Prize winners, he read works by such writers as André Gide, Hermann Hesse, Aldous Huxley, Thomas Mann, and Jean-Paul Sartre.

After seeing Henri-Georges Clouzot’s 1947 police drama film, “Quai des Orfèvres”, Puig decided on a film career as a director. For this profession, he learned three languages: Italian, French, and German. In 1950, Puig enrolled at the University of Buenos Aires Faculty of Architecture; but, in 1951, he switched to its School of Philosophy. He was already working, upon graduation, as a film archivist and editor in Buenos Aires; and later, after  winning a scholarship from the Italian Institute of Buenos Aires, he continued that employment in Italy.

Returning to Argentina, Manuel Puig started his obligatory military service in 1953 where he served as a translator in the Aeronautics section. Living in Buenos Aires in the 1968, Puig wrote his first major novel, “La Traición de Rita Hayworth (Betrayed by Rita Hayworth)”, a novel told in multiple voices to create a portrayal of ordinary Argentinian lives in the1930s and 1940s. In 1969, he wrote his second novel “Boquitas Pintadas (Heartbreak Tango)”, a story about the contrast between mediocre reality and fantastical dreams; the novel also raised questions about machismo and the damage it causes. The narrative is told through confessions, letters, diaries, newspaper clippings, eyewitness accounts, and rememberances of life.

Holding leftist political tendencies and seeing the instability of the Argentinian government, Puig relocated to Mexico in 1973, a place where he would live in exile throughout rest of his life. He wrote his third novel “The Buenos Aires Affair” in 1973, and three years later, wote possibly his best known work, the 1976 “El Beso de la Mujer Araña (The Kiss of the Spider Woman)”. Unusual in that it has no traditional narrative voice, the novel is told in large part through dialogue, without any indication of who is speaking, except the insertion of a dash to show change of speaker. 

“Kiss of the Spider Woman” depicts the daily conversations between two Argentinian prison cellmates, one a political prisoner who was part of a group attempting the overthrow of the government and the other a transgender woman in jail for corruption of a minor. The two characters, seemingly opposites, form an intimate bond in their cell and become lovers, albeit briefly, and they are both changed by that relationship.   

Manuel Puig’s novel was initially published only in Spain; however, upon its publication, it was included on a list of novels banned to the population of Buenos Aires. Despite having been entered into the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany, it remained banned in Argentina until Raúl Alfonsin’s government took control in 1976. Puig adapted “Kiss of the Spider Woman” into a stage play in 1983. The novel was later adapted in 1985 into an Academy Award-winning film of the same name, starring William Hurt and Raul Julia. Hurt’s winning the 1986 Oscar for Best Actor marked the first time an Academy Award went to an actor in an openly gay role. 

In 1989, Puig moved from Mexico City to Cuernavaca, Mexico. Following doctor’s orders to stop smoking, he took daily walks, but the high altitude of the area labored his breathing. He had access to higher quality medical care than most and received care at a clinic near his home. Experiencing pain for several days, he was admitted to the Las Palmas Surgical Center on July 21, 1990, for risk of peritonitis. 

An emergency operation removed Manuel Puig’s inflamed gall bladder; however, his lungs filled with fluid and he became delirious. He died from an acute heart attack, on July 22, 1990.  After funeral rites, attended by only six people including his mother, Manuel Puig’s body was sent to Argentina and placed in the Puig family tomb in the La Plata Cemetery.

James Huctwith

 

Figurative Paintings by James Huctwith

Born in rural southern Ontario, Canada in 1967, James Huctwith is a painter in the realist tradition. From 1986 to 1989, he studied fine art at the University of Guelph’s College of Art in Ontario, primarily in architecture and art history and theory. Huctwith started painting and exhibiting in the early 1990s in Vancouver. Relocating to Toronto in 1995, he was represented by the O’Connor Gallery where he regularly exhibited his emotionally and physically explicit work for a decade.

After a period of personal disruption and change, Huctwith joined Vancouver’s Gallery Jones in the spring of 2005. He stayed with the gallery for two years, during which time he exhibited  a series of non-figurative works. Beginning in 2006, Huctwith was also represented for two years by Montreal’s Galerie Harwood, where the work he exhibited consisted primarily of interpretations of the still life genre. In 2007, he ended his relationship with the O’Connor Gallery.

Feeling a need to recapture his connection with his work, James Huctwith returned to the province of Ontario, placed his previous work with Toronto’s Antonio Arch Fine Arts, and signed up with Ottawa’s Galeria La Petite Mort. His first solo show of figurative work at the Petite Mort gallery in the fall of 2009 was a success. Huctwith’s work, now published and regularly reviewed, is collected internationally with many works in private collections..

Huctwith’s current realist work, both figurative and portraiture, is done with an emphasis on historical techniques. His canvases of male figures are moody, masculine, and mysterious. While a sense of calmness is presented in Huctwith’s scenes, there is often a lurking undercurrent of uncertainty and conflict.

The artist’s website can be found at: http://daintybastard.blogspot.com

Franz Szony

Photographic Work by Franz Szony

Raised in Reno, Nevada, Franz Szony is a writer and photographic artist whose main body of work, both in its fine art and commercial forms, embraces conceptual portraiture. 

After finishing his primary education in 2014, which included art classes at an early age, Szony relocated to San Francisco where he attended the Academy of Art. At the academy, he initially studied fashion and illustration, and, later. focused on photography. After learning the technical aspects of photography, Szony returned to his hometown of Reno where, as a freelance artist, he photographed different advertisement campaigns for newspapers, theaters, and several casinos. He exhibited his own work in a small gallery he created and hosted monthly nude drawing workshops in that space. 

Szony moved to Los Angeles in 2012 and settled in the Brewery Artist Loft complex, an industrially zoned area where artists rent living and working space. Inspired by the area’s creative energy, he photographed campaigns for perfume and fashion brands, created album covers, and did creative photographic work for companies, including Disney and Warner Brothers. 

Influenced by illustrators such as Marc Davis and Erte, and, at an early age, by the extravagant stage shows of Reno’s casinos, Franz Szony’s conceptual portraiture work is lush both in its color and settings. His images are presented ambiguously in time and place, and androgynously in character. Szony’s photographs often contain symbolic or mythological elements and convey psychological, political, and sexual identity messages to the viewers.  

Franz Szony is also a songwriter who has produced several music videos in which he has incorporated his poetry and visual art. Shot over a period of three days, his music video, “Petunia”, based on several of his photographic pieces, was released in 2018. Other music videos by Szony include “La Petite Mort”, “Antibeige”, and “Pansy”, also released in 2018; and “What You Seek” and “Surrender Dorothy”, both released in 2020. 

Szony had solo exhibitions at Reno’s Sierra Arts Foundation in 2015 and at Hollywood’s World of Wonder Gallery in 2019. His work is included in many private collections. Franz Szony’s website is located at http://www.franzszony.com

Osmar Schindler

Osmar Schindler, “The Victor”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, Dimensions and Location Unknown

Osmar Schindler, “Germanic Warrior with Helmet”, 1902, Oil on Canvas, 99 x 79 cm, Private Collection

Born in the village of Burkhardtsdorf in December of 1867, Osmar Schindler was a German painter whose works were a mixture of Art Nouveau and Impressionism. With the financial support of an uncle, he attended the Dresden Art Academy where he studied under Belgian historical painter Ferdinand Pauwels and German portrait painter Leon Pohle. Among his fellow students were Art Nouveau painter Hans Unger and, sculptor and  painter Sascha Schneider.

Schindler traveled throughout Europe during his early life and, by 1895, had visited Belgium, the Netherlands, France, and Italy. His work in this period displayed his interest in classical forms, the nude, and allegorical scenes. In 1897, Schindler designed  the poster for Dresden’s International Art Exhibition and, in 1900, was appointed a professor at the Dresden Art Academy. There he  taught life modeling and draftsmanship, a position which he held for the remainder of his life. 

At the 1901 Dresden International Art Exhibition, Osmar Schindler exhibited and received a gold medal for his oil painting “Im Kumtlampenschein (Changing the Horse Collar by Lamp Light)”. He received a bronze medal for his mythological painting “Hercules” at the 1904 Dresden exhibition and, in the same year, exhibited his earlier 1888 lithograph “David and Goliath” at the Saint Louis World’s Fair Exposition. Schindler also produced several portraits including those of Christian Otto Mohr, a pioneer in structural engineering, and Herman Prell, a well-admired professor at the Dresden Academy. 

Aware of the artistic styles of his time, Osmar Schindler opened himself to the ornamental design of Art Nouveau and the abstract brushstrokes of the Impressionists. He died on June 19th of 1927 in Dresden, at the age of fifty-nine, and is buried at Loschwitz Cemetery, a burial place of numerous artists of national significance. 

Insert Images:

Osmar Schindler, “Siegfried”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, 138 x 78 cm, Private Collection

Osmar Schindler, Illustration, Dresden 1897 International Art Exhibition, Lithograph, 75 x 94 cm, Private Collection

 

Hubert Julian Stowitts

The Photographs and Artwork of Hubert Julian Stowitts

Born in Rushville, Nebraska, in June of 1892, Hubert Julian (Jay) Stowitts was an American painter and ballet dancer. Raised in the Lakota Souix area of South Dakota, he moved with his family to Los Angeles in 1911. Upon his arrival, Stowitts enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley, where, as a gay student, he became a successful college athlete, captained the university’s track team, and acted in several student theater productions. 

Captivated by a ballet performance seen in San Francisco, Stowitts decided to begin private dance lessons. He became an accomplished dancer and performed both on the public stage and at private parties for  San Francisco’s upper class residents. Stowitts kept his dancing secret from his parents for much of his college years; he graduated from the University of California in 1915 with a degree in Commerce. 

In the summer of 1915, while dancing at the Greek Theatre, a large amphitheater owned by the University of California, Julian Stowitts impressed Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova who was in attendance. He accepted an invitation to join her dance company and dropped plans to attend graduate school at Harvard. Stowitts, the first American to star with a Russian ballet troupe, traveled as a successful dancer for six years throughout Europe and the Americas. Leaving Pavlova’s company, he moved to Paris and started a solo career with performances throughout Europe, including a starring role with the Folies Bèrgere in 1924.

During his solo career, Stowitts executed choreographies for other dance companies, designed sets and costumes, and continued  his painting. In 1925 at the age of thirty-three, he retired from dancing and pursued a new career as a painter and occasional film actor. Stowitts traveled through the Far East in the late 1920s, where he lived and painted  in Java for a year. After a stay in Indonesia, he lived in the southern part of Asia for several years and, during this stay, created a series of one hundred and fifty-five canvases entitled “Vanishing India”. After his return to Europe in 1931, Stowitts’s  painted depictions and scholarly studies of traditional Indonesian and Indian dance and costume enjoyed wide popularity in the 1930s.

For the art exhibition at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Julian Stowitts presented a series of fifty-five paintings depicting American male athletes in the nude, which caused a sensation among the attendees. While in Berlin, he assisted German film director Leni Reifenstahl on her “Olympia”, released in 1938 as the first feature film documentary of an Olympic Games, later used by the Nazis as a propaganda film. Due to her fame and influence, Riefenstahl was able to protect Stowitts from persecution for being gay; but his exhibition was closed by the Nazi regime because of their objection to the manner in which Stowitts depicted Jewish and African-American athletes. 

Returning to California in 1937, Stowitts struggled financially as his artwork began to lose public interest. He found, with the assistance of friends, some security with employment as a house caretaker in the Los Angeles area. Stowitts continued to lecture on Indian and Javanese culture and to paint privately for the remainder of his life. The last of his painting series, uncompleted due to illness, was “The Labors of Hercules”, in which actor and body builder Steve Reeves served as the model. Hubert Julian Stowitts died in San Marino, California on February 8, 1953.

The papers of American dancer and painter Hubert Julian Stowitts, including biographical materials, correspondence, and exhibition and performance related materials are available for research at the Bancroft Library of the University of California, Berkeley. 

William Orpen

William Orpen, “Self Portrait on Cliff Top in Howth”, cica 1910, Black Charcoal and Gouache, 50.5 x 36.5 cm, Private Collection

Born in County Dublin in November of 1878, William Newenham Montague Orpen was an Irish draftsman and portrait painter of London’s wealthy Edwardian society. A talented figure of British-Irish Post-Impressionism, he was the youngest son of wealthy, amateur painters and a gifted student who learned rapidly from a succession of celebrated tutors. 

William Orpen was enrolled at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art in 1891, where he studied from 1892 to 1896.  He continued his studies at London’s Slade School of Art between 1897 and 1899, under figurative painter Henry Tonks, landscape painter Philip Wilson Steer, and genre and portrait painter Frederick Brown. Having mastered oil painting and different painting techniques, Orpen’s work, during his six years of study, received many prizes including the British Isles gold medal for life drawing.

Upon graduation from the Slade School, Orpen, along with his fellow graduate, Welsh painter Augustus John,  opened in the autumn of 1903, the Chelsea Art School, a private teaching studio, near King’s Road in Chelsea. Although it was meant as a joint venture, most of the teaching and running of the school was undertaken by John, with Orpen’s chief contribution being a series of lectures on anatomy. Both male and female students were admitted to the school but, despite John’s own bohemian lifestyle, the sexes were segregated for the Life classes. The project was not a success, and, after the waning of both’s interest, the school closed in 1907.

From 1902 to 1915, William Orpen, in addition to his classes at the Chelsea School, taught at the Dublin Metropolitan School of At, where his pupils included portrait painter Margaret Clarke,  romantic-realist painter John Keating, and cartoonist Grace Gifford. In the summer of 1904, he and his friend and mentor, the gallery director and art dealer Hugh Lane, traveled to Paris and Madrid. Orpen guided Lane on the purchase of Impressionist works, and Lane, several years later, commissioned Orpen for a portrait series of notable Irish figures to be displayed at Dublin’s  Municipal Gallery of Modern Art. In 1908, Orpen began exhibiting his work regularly at London’s Royal Academy;  the work in this period was done in a distinctive open-air style that featured figures composed of touches of color.

Starting in 1912, Orpen began his successful career as a portrait painter with a series of portraits of his favorite model, Vera Brewster Hone, the wife of writer Joseph Hone. This series, of such quantity that Orpen numbered them instead of naming them, included the 1912 “The Angler” and the 1918 “The Roscommon Dragoon”, which portrayed Vera Brewster wearing a Dragoon uniform. With the support of painter John Singer Sargent, Orpen built a reputation, in both Dublin and London, as a fashionable portrait painter who presented his subjects in a traditional, polished style. He also painted several group portraits, a popular genre at the time, which include the 1912 “The Cafe Royal in London”, depicting Orpen and Augustus John,  and the 1909 “Homage to Manet”, with the subjects, including Hugh Lane and Henry Tonks, assembled before Manet’s portrait of Eva Gonzales.

In December of 1915, as World War One commenced, William Orpen was commissioned into the Army Service Corps. In January of 1917, through connections with the senior ranks of the British Army, he was given the title of an official artist, which included a promotion to major and unrestricted access to the Front areas in France. Throughout the war years, Orpen painted battle locations, trench scenes, and many portraits of both enlisted men and officers. For his work in this period, he stopped using half-tones and half-shades and adopted a new palettes of colors, with weak purples,  bright greens, and large white spaces of sunlight. Many of these war artist works are in the collection of the Imperial War Museum in London.

Both before and after the war, Orpen produced a number of realistic self-portraits. in which he used his skills as a draftsman to resolve the challenges of surface, lighting, and reflection that he set for himself. His 1910 “Myself and Cupid” was actually a painting within a painting; in this portrait, Orpen painted a table top beyond which was hung a portrait of himself sitting next to a statue of Cupid. Orpen’s 1910 self portrait, known as “Leading the Life in the West”, shows him reflected full-length in a mirror in his studio, wearing a bowler hat and holding gloves and a riding crop. An IOU note is tucked in the frame of the mirror, a testament to the pleasures and distractions of his early career. In Orpen’s 1917 self-portrait “Ready to Start”, painted shortly after his arrival in France, Orpen is inspecting himself in the mirror wearing his military uniform. The French postcards and papers on the desk in the foreground set the scene of wartime France, while the bottles of wine and spirits reference Orpen’s dependence on alcohol during the war.

William Orpen’s life after the war was never the same: he became an alcoholic, grew distant from his wife and family, and mostly painted only to support the lavish lifestyle he took up in Paris with his mistress. Despite his personal problems he was still successful and continued to exhibit widely. Orpen was made a member of the prestigious Royal Academy in 1921 and, in 1923, he received a commission to paint a portrait of Edward, Prince of Wales, for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews. In 1927 he was commissioned for a portrait of Prime Minister David Lloyd George, which was posthumously entered into the National Portrait Gallery. Orpen’s work was also part of the painting event at the 1926 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam.

Orpen became seriously ill in May of 1931, and , after a period of alcohol-induced illness and memory loss, died in London, at the age of fifty-two, in September of 1931. His contribution to the teaching of Irish art has always been recognized as he helped to nurture and influence Ireland’s most important painters of the twentieth-century.William Orpen is buried at Putney Vale Cemetery in southwestern London; a commemorative stone is located in the Island of Ireland Peace Park at Messines, Belgium.

Insert Images Top to Bottom:

William Orpen, Self Portrait, 1913, Oil on Canvas, 122.9 x 89.9 cm, Saint Louis Art Museum

Sir William Orpen, “Self Portrait”, circa 1901, Colored Chalk on Dark Gray Paper, 15.5 x 10.9 cm, Private Collection

William Orpen, “Self Portrait (Ready to Start)”, 1917, Oil on Panel, 60.8 x 49.4 cm, Imperial War Museum, London