A new exciting photo book by the artist Jack Pierson
The photographer and artist Jack Pierson has a new book published by Bywater Bros. Editions and Presentation House Gallery. The publication Tomorrow’s Man, Lynn Valley 9 Book shows a combination of familiar images from Pierson’s collection, vintage ‘Physique’ magazines, celebrity imagery, “oddball ephemera,” and more. It also contains work by other artists including Richard Tinkler, Jeff Elrod, Evan Whale and a short story by Veralyn Behenna entitled ‘The Lobster.’
The softcover book is 6 3/8 x 10 inches with 84 colorful pages and fully illustrated, it’s not your typical photo book, it’s layout is beautifully designed in an unconventional way, using dynamic collages, and images are placed loosely throughout in an inventive way “with complete disregard for page breaks and centerfolds…” I find this book refreshing and inspiring.
Below are a selection of pages from the book:
An interview with the Artist/Curator Robert W. Richards
The exhibition Stroke: From Under the Mattress to the Museum Walls on view at Leslie + Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art until May 25th, is a spectacular show of “erotic illustrations by 25 artists who made work for gay male magazines from the 1950s to the 1990s.” We were lucky enough to have a sit down interview with Robert W. Richards, the artist/curator of the exhibition. Here’s what he had to say.
Where are you from? Originally many moons ago, I’m from Maine. The southern part of Maine. Between Ogunquit and Kennebunkport, but inland. No glamour at all. Actually it was the coast. I left home very young. I was about 15.
So you moved to New York. I moved to Boston. I went to school there and then came to New York in the 60’s.
When did you first start drawing? I never didn’t draw. I always drew. I was one of those kids that stayed by themselves you know. It was either go out and play sports or stay home and color. So I stayed home and colored.
What was the subject matter of your earlier work? My very earliest work was fashion and I did fashion big time. Right up until the mid 70’s. Then I just didn’t want to do it anymore because by that time, it involved traveling a great deal. You know it was a circuit, Paris, London, Rome, Milan, Los Angeles, New York. Which was okay for awhile, it was fun but then when all the couture houses began doing ready-to-wear, they had two showings a year. So it was Paris Paris, Rome Rome, London London, and you were just never home and you lose track of yourself. You know, you meet friends on the street and they say, “Oh, you’re in town!” You say, “well I do live here,” but after awhile you realize you have to be in one place. I mean you can travel, but not 30 weeks a year.
How did you get involved curating this exhibition Stroke? After I left the fashion thing, I wanted to draw men. So I started drawing for the magazines that are in Stroke.
What magazines were they? Mandate, Honcho, Torso, Manshots, All Man, Advocate Men, all of them. I did up until, when the VHS came in — the videotape, the magazines started failing. Then when DVD came in, it got worse. Then when porn became available on the computer, there was no need for the magazines so they just died, which was okay. You know I had a long run. I paid my rent off with them for many years and it was fine. But from the 90’s on, all this great work by these great artists was forgotten and that really bothered me because I think people began to think that these magazines were just trash. Some were and some weren’t. But all these great artists like Antonio [Lopez], Mel Odem, Richard Rosenfeld, Benôit Prévot, all had this huge body of work and I just decided I wanted to show them. I’m on the board of Leslie Lohman, so I went to the board and I made this proposal. At first they were a little “iffy,” because they thought it was going to be a jerk-off show, which I assure you as you have seen it, it is not. It’s a beautiful show.
It’s Stunning. Thank you. Beautiful work by great artists. So that was 4 years ago that I made the proposal, so it’s been in the back of my head for all this time. And then for the last year I worked on it literally every day, because I had to find this work and I knew where to find a lot of it because I was contemporary with a lot of these people and they were still in my life. The ones that were dead, I kind of knew who had the estate. The others I just hunted down. Families were not cooperative — the artwork was under the bed in a box until that day when they decide to throw it out. In hunting I found collectors who had a lot of this stuff, so that’s how I found it. That’s my involvement in Stroke. It’s commitment really. I mean I’m barely in the show myself. That doesn’t mean I won’t have a show of my own some day, I’ve had many shows of my own but you know what I mean. It’s not about me, I only have that Toby drawing in there, because that’s the boy I created for Torso.
The guy with the long hair? Yeah, who had adventures every month and I just used that, when I do tours of the show, which I do every Saturday and Sunday from 3-5. It gives me something — just another dimension that was in the magazines because people forget it wasn’t all just boys in beige living rooms, with a hard on and a plant in the corner. There was a lot more at one time, it devolved to that. It devolved to whoever was making a movie took stills for the magazines, and no longer did shoots at the end.
So what was the criteria for choosing which artist to show? Quality. Quality was the only criteria. Absolutely. Beauty, real art, real drawing, real painting. Real quality work. A lot of it was junk and I didn’t want junk. As a matter of fact we’ve gotten a book deal on ‘Stroke.’ I can’t give you any details but we are going to expand, it’s great. It’ll be a good book. There’s never been a book that examined these artists.
Are you drawn to any artist’s work in the show specifically? Do I have favorites? Yeah. Of course. Antonio [Lopez], actually that’s an interesting little tidbit because Antonio was the reason I didn’t want to do fashion anymore, because when Antonio came in, I knew that the next generation belonged to him and that I was the previous generation. It was time to go. Plus as I said, I wanted to draw men. I wanted to draw people, not people in clothes necessarily but I wanted emotion in my drawings. I wanted people without clothes. Where the issue was with clothes. So of course Antonio remains despite the fact that he pitched me out of the business, he remains still an idol of mine. Richard Rosenfeld who is a professor, at both F.I.T. and Parsons, those are my two favorites of the show. Mel Odem of course, the great Mel Odem, who is more famous for the work he did with Playboy and Time Magazine, because he did several Time Magazine covers. But he still did this, and I knew it.
Whose work do you feel you were influenced by, if you were to look back? Primarily a great fashion illustrator who is no longer with us, named Kenneth Paul Block. That was what I aspired to but I was also very influenced by music and other things — you know I was a kid from a small town in Maine, and to aspire to be in fashion is a little ridiculous. I was very influenced by fashion magazines. That was what I wanted. Some of it I got. Obviously I didn’t get Architectural Digest (laughs).
Can you talk about the significance of the title, the part that says “from under the mattress to the museum walls”? Because for many men, these magazines were all they had to relate to, that was gay. They would go out for the evening to a bar, to a movie or whatever and if things didn’t go their way, whatever they desired, these magazines were a very nice “date” that you could stop at the newsstand and buy, because they were distributed everywhere. The smallest towns, had these magazines and the problem was people were afraid to buy them in their own neighborhoods because they knew the drugstore guy or the newsstand guy, so they didn’t. They went across town or stole them. Which was my method (laughs), or I would buy Vogue, tuck Physique Pictorial into it, pay fast and run, I probably did this two or three times. I had to do it.
Why were you into those magazines? Desire. It’s a part of your sexuality, I’d wanted those magazines, and like everybody else I hid them. So that’s the “under the mattress,” that became a cliché — under my mattress. It’s a big journey this year, at this particular moment in gay history, for these magazines to make that journey from under the mattress to the walls of what’s now a very prestigious museum.
You mean the show at MOCA and the Leslie Lohman show. MOCA of course.
There was also a show at the NYU gallery, the Bob Mizer show. And MOMA has the Tom of Finland, but they didn’t buy them, they were donated, under condition that they’d show them, and they showed two. But if you’ve seen the show, there’s a Tom of Finland of a guy getting fucked and he’s sucking a cock, that was of course necessary to show some of that material. But strangely Huffington Post did a great piece on “Stroke”, and they showed 8 images, and they printed that one, and I thought “This is great, we are pioneers.” So, I’m not saying our problems as gay men are solved, but we are making strides in imposing our desire and taste on people. And that’s the mission of “Stroke” to free people and to realize that we’ve always produced wonderful work.
That’s very inspiring to see, all the wonderful work together in one room. How do you think the viewing experience differs from a more mature viewer to a younger one? I think there are definite differences, I think older gay men are more interested in what I just described, sexual acts being portrayed. The older men are still interested in the bad boy aspect of it. The look, “I’m here in this gallery, and I’m looking at men fucking, and sucking, and having sex.” Young boys have had access to this since they learned how to turn on a computer, so it’s a very different thing. So young boys want to see the line quality, they want to see the design quality, they want to see how the drawing is positioned on the paper, they are interested in it as art already. We are not having to sell them that aspect of it. A lot of people will be disappointed it isn’t more of a jerk-off show, but it isn’t, and I’m hoping that some of the museum aspect will rub off on those who come to see a sex show. You can see a sex show at home and you can also see a lot of the more graphic artists like The Hun and Etienne, the ones that do have very graphic pieces in the show, I mean my god you can see stuff that would curl your hair.
What pornographic materials did you use to masturbate when you were young? The ones I’ve described, because that’s all there was. I mean that was it. If there had been DVD. If I had the money, and a television set, and a place to watch it, certainly. But it was fine, I think that, for the men of my generation, a couple generations really, these magazines taught us to use our imaginations. Like reading porn fiction taught you to visualize and by the time this other stuff came, you were kind of okay, it wasn’t as thrilling as the magazines had been because it wasn’t as forbidden.
Yeah the magazines are a treat.
Artist Sean Fader came up with the unusual idea to sign up to 16 dating sites and then go on 100 dates over the course of a year, documenting the results. Sounds simple enough right? the Internet is full of all sorts of catchy “projects” like this. The difference with Sean’s project is that as soon as the men arrived for the dates he set up his camera and immediately took a photo of the guys based on his preconceived notion of them from their online profiles. After the date ended, (an hour later, the next day) he worked with them on another photo that more accurately reflected who they were. The resulting photo series titled ‘Sup!’ is a fascinating look at the disparity between how we portray ourselves online and who we are in real life. While the project sounds like a lot of fun, it took a toll on Sean: “when the date was awkward, when the photographs were bad, and I felt bad about myself — everything was about an exterior approval — when someone rejects you, it can be ego-bruising, and when you’re supposed to also be making work and when you fail at that, too… it deeply changed me.” I think the series is really clever and well worth a few minutes of your time. It’s a good reminder to get offline and go take some chances in the real world, as scary as that might seem.
Stroke: From Under the Mattress to the Museum Walls, now up at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art until May 25th, is absolutely everything (and also the perfect way to ignite your libido for spring, trust). I came of age in the late 60’s and early 70’s, yes Mossy is no spring chicken, and I had a pile of gay porno magazines secretly stashed under my bed. One day I came home from school, I was 14 or so, I entered my room and to my shock and horror saw the pile neatly placed on top of my desk. My mother, without missing a beat, called up from the kitchen, “oh Mary (our cleaning lady) found those magazines under your bed, I put them on your desk!” Not a word about the content, nor my burgeoning homosexuality, until 10 years later — another story for another day. This exhibition includes works by Tom of Finland, Jim French, Etienne, Antonio Lopez, Michael Kirwan and others. The curator of the show Robert W. Richards says the exhibition “spotlights the great artists who illustrated stories published in the gay magazines of their eras.” From Physique Pictorials to Blue Boy, Honcho, Mandate and Unzipped, Stroke includes them all. I am bringing everyone I know back to this show, it’s a gem — a stroke of pure genius.
Q&A with artist Stuart Sandford and model Sebastian about their collaboration.
London-based artist Stuart Sandford has been working on his ongoing project ‘Sebastian‘ for the last two years. Sebastian is an 8ft stainless steel statue of the model Sebastian Sauvé taking a selfie. Stuart describes it as a “perfect 21st century embodiment of male beauty that combines new and old technologies and an actual professional model as its basis.” He created this statue with Sebastian in mind, “once the idea was fully formed Sebastian Sauvé was my first choice. I wanted to reference classical works in the look and feel of the piece and he has the perfect look, just check out those lips and nose and profile…”
We had a chance to ask Stuart and Sebastian a few questions about the project.
Did Sebastian agree to let you mold him into the statue right away? Yeah I emailed him directly through his website and he pretty much got back to me straight away saying he would love to be a part of the project. He mentioned he’d seen my work before, specifically my ‘Cumfaces‘ series from 2007, and liked it.
How did you meet him? We didn’t actually meet face to face until the day of the 3D scanning but we chatted via Skype, I think he was in New York at the time. We sent lots of emails back and forth, I was really interested in his input.
Do you feel satisfied with the project? I will be when the 8 foot version is ready! I’ve been developing the project since the end of 2011 so it’s been swirling around my brain for a while now. I like what I’ve achieved so far but there’s still work to be done.
How many sizes have you created? There was always only meant to be the one full-size Sebastian statue, the one made from stainless steel which is 8 feet (243 cms) tall, but there are also two different sizes of limited editions available (a 6 inch/15 cm marble dust and resin version and a 20 inch/50 cm cast painted bronze version), which I created in order to spread the word about the project and also to sell to raise enough funds to actually make the full-size statue. I’ve also asked a number of artists and creatives to contribute to the project either by customizing one of the 6 inch limited edition versions of the statue or by creating a piece of work inspired by the statue. That contribution to the project, and sharing of ideas, could continue indefinitely.
What’s your plan for the future, will you keep evolving this project or are you working on something else? Essentially I could just keep making versions of the statue in different materials and sizes, and whilst I like that idea and will keep doing it for a while, I’m already making the first preparations for a new ongoing series of statues. The new series will use a new model in different poses and states of undress and using different materials and in different sizes but it will always be the same model. It’s a more pure form of the idea behind the Sebastian statue.
Now on to Sebastian Suavé…
Do you like being a statue? Naturally
Where are you living now? On the road. I packed up my house 14 months ago and am changing locations too regularly to call one place home. Im currently in Cape Town, South Africa.
Where were you born? Michigan
How old are you? 26
What’s your favorite city? Impossible to say. Maybe Berlin.
Did you enjoy the process of being molded? It caused plenty of aches from standing so still but great to see how it’s done.
How often do you exercise? Not as often as I’d like. once I went 5 times in a week. Last time I went though was a year ago.
What’s the favorite part of your body? My feet since they take me places.
At what age did you start modeling? 23
What was the weirdest modeling job you ever done? In a bath full of ink.
What keeps you busy besides modeling? Interviews. Traveling. Odda Magazine, which I’m part of the creative team for, also working on other projects and social media.
Who would you like to see be made into a statue? Me again but in 80 years old and withered to compare.
What are you happiest doing? Eating, sleeping, having sex, dancing, sports. In no particular order.
Do you fear getting old? Not at all.
Does being a model make it easier to get laid? So they say. Im sure it helps but I haven’t noticed. I’ve always had it…
Do you think your life has been easier because of your looks? The harsh reality is yes. Look, size, color, I wish It didn’t but it does.
Do you travel with the statue? Now that would be strange.
Where do you keep it? I gave mine to my mom. Funny enough though I have a doll of Ivan Drago with me though — a joke from a friend.
A photographic exploration of men's crotches.
We were fascinated by Claire Milbrath‘s Groin Grazing photo series when we first saw it a few weeks ago. Claire lives in Montreal and has been photographing groins for the last 5 months. She started the series in response to the constant objectification of female bodies in mainstream media. We wanted to learn more about the series and her very understandable fascination with men’s bulges so decided to send her a few questions.
How old are you? Where are you from? How long have you been photographing for? I’m 24 yrs old, I live in Montreal, and I’m from Victoria, British Columbia. I started taking pictures when I was 13, but not seriously until I was about 17.
How long have you been photographing men’s groins for? Only in the last 5 months.
How did you come up with the idea? I’m tired of the excess of female body imagery in fashion and media. I started doing a lot of work for Vice recently, and during that time their fashion issue came out featuring 2 spreads that blatantly objectified women and didn’t do much else artistically. So I pitched a shoot that objectified male bodies; I wanted it to mimic the cK body ads from the 90s, rippling muscles, bulges in underwear, etc, etc. It was Vice’s idea to focus solely on the crotch area.
Have you shown the series in any galleries? No. One gallery in Paris is looking to purchase a couple prints but it hasn’t been confirmed. I would love to show them in that setting though.
Who is most interested in this work? Who have you gotten the biggest response from? Women. Mostly feminist blogs and news sources. I’ve gotten a lot of women contacting me just saying things like “THANK YOU, MADE MY DAY” which gives me a nice feeling.
Are all the men you photograph your strangers/friends/lovers/family members? Where did you find them? I was in British Columbia for xmas holidays at the time of the shoot so luckily the stylist there, Mila Franovic, recruited all the models. They were all her friends and her boyfriend’s friends. They were very nice. I have been accumulating a small privatecollection of my own male friends and lovers as well.
Are the bulges all real? Everyone asks this question. I would say 75% of the bulges are real. We had to use a zuchini for a couple looks, you can probably tell which ones. All of the images that feature more ‘raging’ style bulges are real however. A few of the models were very equipped.
All the men seem to be really “packing” was that important for the photos? And if so how did you ensure they would have big fat dicks that looked good in a pair of tight Acne Jeans? Lol, big fat dicks. I think going big was necessary. I wanted to mirror the same ridiculous beauty standard I see constantly in mainstream representations of the female body. Mila sent me a list of names with corresponding dick sizes, like “John – medium size, Paul – huge” Hah I almost started listing The Beatles right there. It’s cool that they were all so open about what they were working with.
The men in the photos are all hard, how did ensure that was the case before you took the photos? Did you help any of them? It was a stressful process for the models. We’d set up the shot and the model would go into a bedroom, look at porn and get it going, using a condom as a cock-ring. Then he’d call out asking if we were ready and I’d take the photo as fast as I could. It was high pressure. One model was a stripper and he brought a pump. He did three outfits all on the same boner. We were very impressed. His penis turned blue. The whole thing made erections seem very functionary or animalistic.
There’s a retro look to the photos, can you tell me about that? I think my photography has a retro look as I shoot on expired slide film. But also that retro-porn vibe, maybe makes it more humorous.
Some of your other work is also quite sexual, has sex always been an interest to you artistically? No, actually. I started doing sex-related art just so I could get my work published. But producing that kind of art got me thinking a lot about gender and sex representations in the media. I think it’s important to continue to challenge gender roles and body image; it’s so boring to keep producing the same kinds of imagery. Also it’s fun.
The series also has a fashion element to it. Is that something your also interested in? In some ways putting the bulge behind a designer pair of jeans legitimizes the viewer, makes them less pervy for staring at a man’s crotch. Too much of a stretch? Well the shoot was for Vice‘s Fashion issue, but I don’t think the designer brands are supposed to take away from the eroticism.
Any plans to do more in the series? Yes, I’m definitely not done exploring this theme!
Wall to wall power gays at the opening reception in Chelsea
Trust me you’ll want to go to this opening — it’s going to be wall to wall power gays in addition to the brilliant artwork adorning the walls. Ross Bleckner has been showing at the Mary Boone Gallery since 1979, a successful long-term relationship that has afforded us years of exceptional painting. For his latest exhibition, opening at Mary Boone this Saturday, March 8th (5:00PM-7:00PM), Bleckner “examines his own history and the challenges an artist faces daily: How to distill ideas that are constantly evolving and elliptical? To where does one painting lead? And what becomes of the next painting, if thought but never made?” I know that sounds lofty but when you view the painting you will be infused with an energy that is befitting of that quote. Ross has been an unwavering supporter of gay causes, especially during the onset of the AIDS crisis lending his name, work and support to multiple causes. Enough said, put this on your map if not to make the opening then definitely to check out at a later date. Now sissy that walk!
Obama, Shante you stay. Putin, Sashay away.
War Drags You Out is an awesome new art project created by an artist known only as Saint Hoax, that challenges notions of leadership, performance and gender. The artist came up with the idea after “watching a drag show for the first time last May, I was fascinated by drag art. I then linked the concept of faux queens to political and religious leaders. I always perceived leaders as performers, as if they are in their own continuous drag show.”
The portraits of world leaders in drag have caused quite a stir online, especially the ones of Osama Bin Laden and Egypt’s King Abdullah, “I just wanted to extract the idea of getting dressed and becoming someone else for the show and linking it to leaders,” Saint Hoax said. “I pick men that work so hard on creating some sort of ‘public image’ and end up neglecting the people they’re assigned to lead.”
After watching last night’s episode of Drag Race, I can’t help but wonder if perhaps the world would be a better off if it was run by real drag queens, instead of clowns we currently have in place.
Bob Mizer is legendary, he was a male photographer who liked to take photos of other men, way before that was a cool thing to do. In fact Bob was a real trail-blazer. But that’s not why his work has endured. Bob has continued to be celebrated because his work is so damn good. It’s unusual, erotic, conceptual and there’s so much of it. Bob not only took photos he also shot film. Curator Andrew Lampert brings us an above-ground screening of “certifiably underground movies featuring a selection of Mizer’s eye and organ-popping films from his extensive and unclassifiable back catalog. Projected on celluloid rather than digital, we will experience these works in the wondrous sprocket-driven format for which they were initially produced and distributed.” Following the screenings, Lampert will engage in a conversation with filmmaker Peggy Ahwesh on the “topic of Mizer’s sizable output and iconic cinematic approach.” If you don’t know anything about Mizer we suggest you first read our interview with the curators of the latest exhibition featuring Mizer’s work Devotion: Excavating Bob Mizer. After that turn up to this event and get some deeper insights into the work of one of the 20th centuries most influential photographers.