The impetus for this project is shifting the gaze, in particular the straight female and gay man’s gaze toward the nude male body.
The source imagery used is a magazine, Galerie 4, that was part of an obscenity trial case in 1967 in Minneapolis where Conrad Germain and Lloyd Spinar were charged in Federal Court for producing and mailing obscene material, predominantly gay content. The defense hired an investigator to purchase “obscene” material and argued that the availability of female nude imagery merits that there should be male nude imagery accessible to the public as well. The defendants initially faced 145 years in prison and up to $145,000 in fines each, but later acquitted, as the defense, “[u]sing a customer survey, […] convinced the presiding judge that some of the customers for nude male photographs were women, not just homosexual men.”
All images in the magazine are men posed alone without interaction with other people. I am interposing the symbolism of flowers as both women and queers are bonded to this imagery. The former being a sexual threat to the patriarch (“femme fatales”) and the latter as a dissent to heterosexist ethos (“fairies”). As a parallel, flowers were used to signify the sexual perils of both groups, one being that of syphilis (19th century) and the other of AIDS (specifically 1980s-1990s). Both condemned positions. However, the works proposed in this series is a celebration of that longing rather than being castigated for it. Acutely speaking, the connection of feminist and queer ideology is intertwined within these works and suggest a reversal of desire and power.