Archive for the Larry Rivers Category

Cold War Homo Artists, 1945-1968( and a bit beyond)

Posted in 20th century, Andy Warhol, Beauford Delaney, David Hockney, Gay, George Platt Lynes, Jasper Johns, Larry Rivers, Minor White, Paul Cadmus, Robert Rauschenberg on November 11, 2010 by babylonbaroque

Once again dear reader I am influenced by my current topic of study, in this case the chilling effects caused by the Cold War, the House Un-american Activities Committee, and McCarthyism. I chose to explore gay American artists during this period and how they responded to  the societal pressures of conformity and repression, personal, and aesthetic.

I will not bore you with the essay, just provide a scrap book of images.

Beauford Delaney

1901-1979

Washington Square

1948

Washington Square

1952

source for both images

I confess I knew little of Beauford, I found his story most touching, his struggles with racism, homophobia, depression, loneliness very poignant.

Paul Cadmus

1904-1999

Manikins

1951

I did not include this later work in my project, but I have long enjoyed the image.

Summer

1979

source for both images

I really enjoy how this painting reminds me of Boucher, the subject like a strange retelling of the Moses myth. Cadmus seems to have been a happy man; 35 years with the handsome Jon Anderson serving as muse and companion certainly had something to do with that.

Jasper Johns

b. 1930-present

Target with Plaster Casts

1955

source

I love how until recently, the closeted Johns made use of secrets.The cast body parts only revealed upon lifting the little doors. the great visual irony being the target symbol, screaming for attention yet hiding truths from view.

Robert Rauschenberg

1925-2008

Monogram

1955-59

freestanding combine

source

Retroactive 1

1964

source

It is a great irony that the two Pop geniuses Johns and Rauschenberg, boyfriends for some time, tried to distance themselves from Warhol, who they found “too swish”.

This attitude not unlike the macho posturing of the Abstract Expressionists.

Andy Warhol

1928-1987

Nancy

1960

source

It is too difficult to not notice the visual/verbal humor that the closeted Warhol was exploring. Early Pop paintings by Warhol were first exhibited as a sort of artistic window dressing for  the department store Bonwit Teller in in the spring of ’61. Rauschenberg and Johns had also exhibited their work in this manner. It is little wonder that the virile Abstract Expressionists dismissed the Pop movement.

Larry Rivers

1925-2002


The Greatest Homosexual

1964

source

Ostensibly not homosexual although his boyfriend the poet Frank O’Hara might find the argument flimsy. It doesn’t matter, this twice married , father of five  libertine, in many ways best expressed gay sensibilities. Be it his wry parody of David’s The Emperor Napoleon in his Study at the Tuileries ,1812 (above), or his sensitive portrayal of O’Hara (below) ;River’s painting satisfy.

Frank O’Hara Nude with Boots

1954

source

As space was limited I did not include many of the artists I would have liked. I will fasten a few more that I particularly admire.

George Platt Lynes

1907-1955


Nicholas Magallanes and Francisco Moncion in NY Ballet production of Orpheus

1950

source

I love how this East Orange N.J. boy, with his flamboyantly gay imagery became Kinsey’s “go-to-gay” whenever he needed something decidedly queer.

He certainly found the right fellow.

Minor Martin White

1908-1976

Bob Bright, San Pedro Point Marker

1949

source

The deeply conflicted White, perhaps bisexual, perhaps gay, spent his life tormented by his desire. This image of the incredibly handsome Bright gives us an inkling of that torment; Bright is almost available, teetering upon the rocky precipice, just out of desire’s reach.

David Hockney

1937-present

We Two Boys Together Clinging

1961

source

I end this exploration of American Cold War Homo Artists with a Brit; a Brit who seems to have great affection for our country, at least sunny southern California.

I have always found this painting sweetly touching and uplifting, I thought it a fitting end piece.

With that,

Good Day,

Babylon Baroque

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 157 other followers