A new show by the acclaimed photographer Bill Henson will feature portraits of figures, similar to images of naked teenagers that provoked controversy and a police raid of his show at a Sydney gallery in 2008.
The invitation to Henson’s upcoming exhibition at Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery features a photo of a teenage boy, bare-chested and glistening with sweat, looking pensively away from the camera. Henson has not decided which photos will be shown at the exhibition, which opens on September 20, but in an interview with the Herald‘s art critic John McDonald in this Saturday’s Spectrum, he said "It will focus more on the body, and less on landscape."
It is in stark contrast to Henson’s 2010 exhibition at the Paddington gallery, his first show following the police raid, which appeared to disappoint his detractors by featuring works that were mostly landscapes and architectural ruins. "He ignited controversy – now he’s ditching it," was the title of column in response. However, gallery owner Roslyn Oxley said the show includes both landscape and figurative works that represent themes Henson has explored for more than three decades.
Following the controversy over Henson’s photos, the government of New South Wales, Australia changed its child pornography laws in 2010, removing the defence of artistic purpose. The law change meant artists who create images of naked children have to pay for a Commonwealth classification to ensure against prosecution. Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery submitted works from Henson’s 2010 exhibition to the Classification Board, which ruled they would be "unlikely to offend a reasonable adult".
Oxley said the 2008 scandal had not affected Henson’s work. "There has been no impact. People who love and respect Bill Henson’s work continue to love and respect his work." Last year, Henson gave a speech in which he described the 2008 scandal as "at best inconvenient". In 2008, Henson’s show at Roslyn Oxley9 was raided by police following accusations of child pornography. Several photos were seized, investigated and Henson’s work was labelled "revolting" and "devoid of artistic merit" by the then prime minister, Kevin Rudd.
In contrast, the then opposition treasury spokesman Malcolm Turnbull, who owns Henson works, criticised the police raids of galleries displaying photos by Henson. Criminal investigations into Henson were widened to include previous work and other galleries were forced to remove his photos from display. But three weeks later, the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions decided not to proceed with any charges and the seized photos were returned to the gallery.
Henson is one of Australia’s most highly regarded contemporary artists, having represented the country at the Venice Biennale. He has been the subject of exhibitions at major galleries, including the Art Gallery of NSW, which holds almost 70 works by Henson, including landscapes, ruins and figures. "We obviously think he is very important in Australian art," said the gallery’s curatorial director and head of international art, Tony Bond. "I think Henson’s imagination and the depth of his cultural engagement is quite extraordinary."
Henson said he did not seek out controversy. "Some people decide they want to be controversial," he said. "I don’t know who in their right mind could be so stupid."
In his Half-Drag series, New York photographer Leland Bobbé captures the two sides of the city’s drag queens — the extravagantly made-up drag divas and the organic men that lie beneath.
"Through the power of hair and makeup these men are able to completely transform themselves and find their female side while simultaneously showing their male side," he says. And the identities are composed in camera and are not separate images joined during editing.
Bobbé posted the first portrait of the Half-Drag series on his blog last March, writing, "I got great feedback on the image so I decided to reach out to other drag queens… I’ve now shot four people with many more on the way. We’ll see where this takes me…” Five months later, the project has taken the award-winning photographer far: It has been featured in Italian Vogue, fashion site Refinery 29, as well as in other websites and blogs from around the world. (via the HuffPo Gay Voices)
The queer establishment disrupters over at the berlin-based publishing house Entartetes Leben are in the process of blessing the world with their newest baby Shallow Tourist, a sublime and sexy trip to Eastern & Central Europe, as documented by its secretive author Moot on 80 pages in full colour. The book is printed in 750 copies on 140 gram art book paper and you can order it right here.
Can’t spare the money to get these boys onto your coffee table? No prob, we wouldn’t be the socialist propaganda blog we’re being accused of making regularly if we wouldn’t share our wealth, right? All you gotta do is putting some pieces together to assemble a naked lad. No, you’re not supposed to channel Dr. Frankenstein, put those Tesla coils away!
All we’re asking you for is solving this jigsaw puzzle of a photo I snapped of one of the pages of Shallow Tourist and mail a screenshot of the completed image our way until Sunday, 10 PM Central European Time. We’ll randomly select a winner who will not only get a free copy of Shallow Tourist but also the first issue of the scandalous Breaking Boy News [Not Safe for Kittens]!
30 bucks saved, just like that… yay!
With her scrapbook Cult of Boys fashion photographer Toyin Ibidapo created a visiual memorial for the (slightly older) androgynous sons of the fading emo decade.
You can’t always trust your gaydar. Opening this book might let you think of the numerous gay photographers with their affection for teens. Not this time though. Cult of Boys comes form a woman who photographed for clients like the Dazed & Confused magazine or the late queer fashion star Alexander McQueen.
The portraits of the emosih lads featured in this book were made over a longer period of time in her own flat. Most of the boys are scantily clad (or not at all) but eroticism isn’t the major theme; there seems to be an intimate atmosphere built on trust and maybe even friendship. Ingenuous models explore who they are–and who they could be. Although carefully staged the photos, which might remind you of the Yatrofsky’s work, seem genuine and emit the honesty and frankness the photography of the young and beautiful so often lacks. Impetuous and with lots of charm the fascinating pictures capture the raw vulnerability of the soft youth.
Translated from Queer.de
With an erotic softness & quiet confidence, the young, fully-nude subjects in I Heart Boy exhibit a willingness to be celebrated by all for their beauty and openness. Posing in the intimacy of their own homes, often in studio apartments in Manhattan’s East Village and Lower East Side, lanky bodies are posed sensually against the minimalist backgrounds of naturally lit rooms with sparse furnishings.
Welcome to today’s gay ideal of the male nude, an aesthetic with nods to Larry Clark and the 80s underground music scene, and appreciated by the likes of designer Hedi Slimane, American Apparel, and the most popular indie bands from New York, L.A., London, Paris, and Berlin. Yatrofsky’s waif-like men—merely boys just a few years ago, bordering on androgynous, with an occasional tattoo and a bit of punk swagger to match their youthful naiveté—hardly resemble even the shadow of the beefcake of generations past. This is the undressed and carefree look of today’s urban trendsetter—whose style trickles out of the young, creative circles in cities, only to be copied elsewhere tomorrow.
With each photograph, these sexually charged images of male bodies invite the viewer to dwell upon the welcome tenderness of warm skin. Ultimately I Heart Boy is a series of nudity in the purest sense; of being simply bared as human before the world.
The Rainbow Gathering is an annual festival that takes place around the Fourth of July holiday weekend in a different American national park each year. Part of the point is to celebrate inclusiveness and pray for world peace. The festival attracts hundreds of teenage runaways and travellers who are nicknamed ‘The Dirty Kids’. The 2009 Gathering was held in the Santa Fe National Forest, New Mexico.