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Day 2: Joe Bobowicz

published on 2 February 2019

For day two of his 'pride' themed Tumblr curation, SHOWstudio Editorial Assistant Joe Bobowicz explores the question 'is our love beautiful?'

For day two of his 'pride' themed Tumblr curation, SHOWstudio Editorial Assistant Joe Bobowicz explores the question 'is our love beautiful?'

Is our Love beautiful?

Liebende Knaben (Boys in Love), Christian Schad, 1929 The artist was actually heterosexual, but his work explored the emergent queer subculture which had begun to flourish in Germany; a movement which was nipped in the bud by subsequent Nazism.
The Bath, Paul Cadmus, 1951, tempera on composition board An oft-undocumented side of our lives: the domestic. This is a work I find myself revisiting and each time I see something new in it.
Brian Ridley & Lyle Heeter, Robert Mapplethorpe, 1979 To capture a moment with such candid beauty would require both artistic nuance and most importantly, a sincere appreciation of a scene that was at the time deemed transgressive, and by some, abhorrent.
Robert Mapplethorpe: Early Works, 1970-1974 (New York: Robert Miller Gallery)
Untitled, image from Robert Mapplethorpe: Early Works, 1970-1974 (New York: Robert Miller Gallery)
Untitled, image from Robert Mapplethorpe: Early Works, 1970-1974 (New York: Robert Miller Gallery)
Raf Simons S/S 17 Something that surprised me about the usage of Robert Mapplethorpe imagery in Raf Simons’ Spring/Summer 2017 collection was that the artist’s foundation had reached out to Simons; prior to this Simons saw the collaboration as a desired impossibility. The foundation is known to only exhibit Mapplethorpe’s works through the lens of the most important curators - this collaboration proved fashion’s relevance in the continual re-evaluation of Mapplethorpe’s legacy.
Tea Room Odyssey in Tom of Finland, The Complete Comics Artist Touko Laaksonen, known more commonly as Tom of Finland, is an erotic illustrator I first came across upon my visit to the GLBT Museum in the Castro, San Francisco. Born in a small Finnish town in 1920, Laaksonen was aware of his homosexuality from a young age. The German soldiers he saw during his adolescence would arouse him - their high leather boots, gauntlet gloves and hypermasculine uniforms a fantasy reified. Laaksonen drew these soldiers in erotic panel comics. During his career Laaksonen would illustrate construction workers, sailors, bikers and punks. Whilst he was critiqued for glamorising the Nazist aesthetic, I think it is clear that his work was primordially an outlet for his sexual fantasies, which given their content, could not be more at odds with Hitler’s fascist ideology. Post-war, Laaksonen was left somewhat lost; he could not find sexual fulfillment. He dabbled in the Helsinki gay scene, but this - at that time - required an effeminacy not intrinsic to his nature. His art was a celebration of rugged and leathery homosexuality; subverting the notion of what a gay man could be, and reclaiming the masculinity fascism had made toxic.
Illustration from Kake, Sadist in Tom of Finland, The Complete Comics
Tom’s Scrapbooks in Tom of Finland, The Complete Comics
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