Author: Casey Hoke

Grant Wood (1891-1942)

Grant Wood (1891-1942)

Arnold Comes of Age

Artist: Grant Wood

Date & Location: 1930, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Media: Oil Painting

Where can I see this artwork?: Sheldon Museum of Art in Lincoln, Nebraska

Previously part of Hide/Seek: Differences in American Portraiture in association with the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery

Significance to Queer Art History:

Painted in the same year as American Gothic, this piece shows a homoerotic view from Wood. The central figure being Arnold Pyle, the artists assistant and a possible love interest as Grant surrounded himself with other men who looked similar. With a background depicting nude male figures bathing against an idyllic setting like Wood’s other paintings, this painting suggests sexuality and the coming of age of a man as the title ensues.

Resources and Further Reading

Arnold Comes of Age. Smithsonian Institution, npg.si.edu/object/npg_N-38.

“Critics’ Picks: Grant Wood’s Painting ‘Arnold Comes of Age,’ ‘Monroe’ on DVD and Queen Elizabeth II.” The Seattle Times, The Seattle Times Company, 3 June 2012, www.seattletimes.com/entertainment/critics-picks-grant-woods-painting-arnold-comes-of-age-monroe-on-dvd-and-queen-elizabeth-ii/.

Terry. “American Gothic: Grant Wood.” Gay Influence: Gay & Bisexual Men of Importance, 2014, gayinfluence.blogspot.com/2011/12/american-gothic-grant-wood.html.

Juliana Huxtable (1987-

Juliana Huxtable (1987-

Untitled (In the Rage) Nibiru Cataclysm

Artist: Juliana Huxtable

Date & Location: 2015, New York City, NY (USA)

Media: Photography

Where can I see this artwork?: Guggenheim Museum, NYC

Significance to Queer Art History:

Juliana Huxtable is an intersex and transgender visual artist, performer,writer, and DJ. In her multidisciplinary career she often conveys her ideas through a afrofuturist lens blended with modern science fiction.

This piece brings together parts of her identity that she wants to draw attention to via a sexualized position to celebrate her body and identity in her surroundings which recall Nubian and Egyptian settings.

Resources & Further Reading:

“Juliana Huxtable | Untitled in the Rage (Nibiru Cataclysm) (2015).” Artsy. https://www.artsy.net/artwork/juliana-huxtable-untitled-in-the-rage-nibiru-cataclysm.

Sargent, Antwaun. “Artist Juliana Huxtable’s Bold, Defiant Vision.” Vice. March 25, 2015. Accessed July 19, 2018. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/exmjkp/artist-juliana-huxtables-journey-from-scene-queen-to-trans-art-star-456.

“Untitled in the Rage (Nibiru Cataclysm).” Guggenheim. July 17, 2018. Accessed July 19, 2018. https://www.guggenheim.org/artwork/34476.

 

Grotta dell’Addaura Cave Painting (11,000 BCE)

Grotta dell’Addaura Cave Painting (11,000 BCE)

Date & Location: 10,000 BCE in Mount Pellegrino in Palermo, Sicily, southern Italy.

Media: Painting

Significance to Queer Art History:

This cave painting was found in 1953 in Mount Pellegrino by archaeologist Jole Bovio Marconi after an explosion uncovered part of the site during the Allied Invasion of Sicily in World War II. The writings of Marconi describe her own interpretation of the depicted scene to be homoerotic in nature due to the male figures erect penises parallel to each other.

There are several interpretations of the scene depicted:

  1. The figures in a circle are tied in rope for a sacrificial ritual and splayed in arched-back positions by two shaman-like figures at the top with bird masks honoring the bird goddess.
  2. A homoerotic ritual conducted by the two shamans with the lines representing energy and/or male ejaculation at or after puberty.

Resources and Further Reading:

“Addaura Cave Engravings (11,000 BCE).” A-Z Of PREHISTORIC ART, www.visual-arts-cork.com/prehistoric/addaura-cave.htm. Accessed 15 July 2018.

Penczak, Christopher. “Before the Pen and the Plow.” In Gay Witchcraft: Empowering the Tribe, 10-12. Weiser Books, 2003.

Purpura, Giovanni. “Addaura.” http://www1.unipa.it/dipstdir/portale/ARTICOLI%20GIOVANNI/Addaura.pdf.

 

 

Achilles Binding Patroclus’ Wounds (500 BCE)

Achilles Binding Patroclus’ Wounds (500 BCE)

Achilles Binding Patroclus’ Wounds

Artist: Sosias Painter

Date & Location: 500 BCE in Greece

Media: Painted Pottery (Kylix Vase)

Where can I see this artwork?: Antikensammlung in Berlin, Germany

Significance to Queer Art History:

Achilles and Patroclus, are one of the most celebrated male warrior pairs in Greek literature after the Trojan War. Achilles is a young Greek warrior in Homer’s Iliad who possesses superhuman strength and ability as he was born from a nymph and a mortal. He is known for his only weakness being in his heel as his mother dipped him in the river Styx as an infant and held him by his heel. Patroclus is a warrior who grew up as a role model and companion to Achilles as appointed by Achilles’ father.

Homer, the poet writes the pair as two friends with a tender relationship later deemed as pederastic by the Greeks, where in which an older male figure mentors and cares for the younger as a “rite of passage” that could include sexual relations. After the death Patroclus, Achilles’ aim for fighting in the war became Patroclus. Achilles’ grief causes him insomnia and a great drive to fight and avenge Patroclus’ death at the hands of Hector, a Trojan prince and fighter for Troy. After Homer’s Iliad, the two can be found in art and literature demonstrating their bond and companionship.

Resources and Further Reading:

Gabriel Laguna-Mariscal, and Manuel Sanz-Morales. “Was the Relationship between Achilles and Patroclus Homoerotic? The View of Apollonius Rhodius.” Hermes 133, no. 1 (2005): 120-23. http://www.jstor.org.proxy.library.cpp.edu/stable/4477639.

Morales, Manuel Sanz, and Gabriel Laguna Mariscal. “The Relationship between Achilles and Patroclus According to Chariton of Aphrodisias.” The Classical Quarterly 53, no. 1 (2003): 292-95.

Winters, Riley. “Achilles and Patroclus: Brothers from Other Mothers or Passionate Paramours?” Ancient Origins. 2017. https://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends-europe/achilles-and-patroclus-brothers-other-mothers-or-passionate-paramours-008265.

 

 

Il Sodoma (1477-1549)

Il Sodoma (1477-1549)

Giovanni Bazzi, also known as Il Sodoma. (A mocking name aimed at Bazzi’s homosexuality that Bazzi later began to embrace) was a painter of the Italian renaissance, born in Savoy, Italy.  He was influenced by the prior works of Leonardo Da Vinci and Raphael in his historical, mythical, and religious frescoes.

Featured Artwork: Marriage of Alexander the Great and Roxana (1571)

Where can I find this artwork?: Fresco at Villa Farnesina in Rome
Significance to Queer Art History: Alexander the Great is featured in the middle, gazing at his soon to be wife, Roxana as she is undressed by cupids for their consummation of marriage. Meanwhile, on the right, a clothed Hephaestion (Alexander’s best man) leans upon the marriage god, Hymen. Hephaestion was a general in Alexander’s army along with being his intimate partner and personal body guard. The two were inseparable throughout life. This fresco by Il Sodoma, exemplifies Alexander the Great’s bisexuality through Hephaestion’s closeness to the marriage god. While not married by law, Alexander and Hephaestion’s closeness during the marriage of Roxana and Alexander remains.

Resources & further reading:

The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. “Il Sodoma.” Encyclopædia Britannica. March 31, 2017. Accessed August 2017. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Il-Sodoma.

Saslow, James M. Pictures and Passions: A History of Homosexuality in the Visual Arts. New York, NY: Viking, 2000. 97-99.

Michael Page- Bisexual Pride Flag (1998)

Michael Page- Bisexual Pride Flag (1998)

Michael Page is a Florida based bisexual activist, creator of BiCafe (closed) and BiNet USA volunteer.

Featured Artwork: Bisexual Pride Flag

Date and Location: December 5, 1998 in Florida, USA

Significance to Queer Art History: The Bisexual Pride flag was created by Michael Page and debuted on December 8, 1998 on BiCafe . com (now defunct.) Page wanted to create a prominent symbol for the bisexual community just as the gay pride (rainbow) flag was prominent to the gay community after its creation by Gilbert Baker in 1978. He chose the colors for the flag for the popular “Bi-Angles” symbol of triangles and combined them into a flag that used 40% pink (to represent homosexuality), 20% purple (to represent a combination of homosexuality and heterosexuality), and 40% blue (to represent heterosexuality).

The pantone color codes from Page are as follows: PMS 226, 258, and 286

Bi-Angles symbol that inspired Michael Page (Creator Unknown): 

Resources & Further Reading:

Baxter-Williams, Libby. “Hoisting Our Colours: A Brief History of the Bisexual Pride Flag.” Biscuit. Accessed August 25, 2017. https://www.thisisbiscuit.co.uk/hoisting-our-colours-a-brief-history-of-the-bisexual-pride-flag/.

Ruocco, Caroline. “Mashable Publishes an Up-to-date Compilation of LGBT Flags and Symbols.” GLAAD. June 16, 2014. Accessed June 2017. https://www.glaad.org/blog/mashable-publishes-date-compilation-lgbt-flags-and-symbols.

Wong, Curtis M. “‘Celebrate Bisexuality Day’ Exists Because Of These Three LGBT Activists.” The Huffington Post. September 24, 2013. Accessed August 2017. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/24/celebrate-bisexuality-day_n_3977289.html.

Marilyn Roxie- Non-Binary Pride Flag (2011)

Marilyn Roxie- Non-Binary Pride Flag (2011)

Marilyn Roxie is a genderqueer writer, musician, and digital media designer. They, created genderqueerid.com/ on Tumblr while attending San Francisco City College. Roxie, along with being a designer and musician, manages an online record label called Vulpiano Records. They currently attend San Francisco State University for Digital Media and Emerging Technologies. Learn more about them here: http://marilynroxie.com/

Featured Artwork: Non-Binary/ Genderqueer Pride Flag

Marilyn Roxie created this flag for a project in 2010 to find a visual identity similar to other pride flags such as the transgender flag (created by Monica Helms in 1999) and bisexual pride flag (Created by Michael Page in 1998) with colored bars representing specific meanings. Roxie came up with three colors after various revisions and simplifications that fit this criteria:

  • Lavender: A blend of traditional “male” and “female” birth assignment colors (pink and blue) to represent those who categorize themselves fitting both binary genders.
  • White: to represent those who are completely outside of the gender binary.
  • Dark Chartreuse Green: An opposite of lavender to represent those who feel neither male nor female in their identities.

After the flag’s creation, it was spotted in rallies and pride events around the world and is used widely by non-binary communities. However, Roxie still accepts submissions for new flag ideas and color palettes for community discussion. Visit http://genderqueerid.com/ for more information on genderqueer and non-binary identities as well as more information on the flag and its history. 

Resources & Further Reading:

Roxie, Marilyn. “About the Flag.” About the Flag. Accessed August 2017. http://genderqueerid.com/about-flag.

Roxie, Marilyn. “Marilyn Roxie.” Marilyn Roxie. Accessed August 2017. http://marilynroxie.com/.

 

Mike Caffee- Fe-Be’s Leather David (1966)

Mike Caffee- Fe-Be’s Leather David (1966)

Featured Artwork: Fe-Be’s Leather David

Date & Location: 1966 in San Francisco, CA (USA)

Media: Plaster

Where can I see this artwork?: The GLBT History Museum in San Francisco, CA (USA)

Significance to Queer Art History: 
Created originally on commission for Fe-Be’s, the first leather bar on Folsom Street in San Francisco, CA.
This was a re-creation of Michelangelo’s iconic “David” as a leather biker icon. The iconic figure later appeared in other plaster and even bronze statues at bars around the United States.

Michelangelo’s David for reference: 

Resources & Further Reading: 

Caffee, Mike. Fe-Be’s Leather David. 1966. GLBT Historical Society Museum, San Francisco, CA.

“The Leather David or Fe-Be’s Statue.” The Leather David or Fe-Be’s Statue. Accessed August 2017. http://leatherdavid.blogspot.com/.

Caravaggio (1571-1610)

Caravaggio (1571-1610)

Featured Artwork: The Musicians

Media: Oil Paint

Date and location: 1595 in Rome

Where can I find this artwork?: The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, NY (USA)

Significance to Queer Art History: Caravaggio’s work, characterized by his dramatic chiaroscuro technique (chiaroscuro uses dramatic lights and darks to model the figures coming out of the shadows in a “theatrical spotlight” manner) were sensual and dreamlike. This work in particular hosts a homosocial event of music and its connections to love, as signified by the cupid on the left side of the painting.

 

Resources & Further Reading: 

“Caravaggio (Michelangelo Merisi) | The Musicians | The Met.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Accessed August 2017. http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/435844.

Saslow, James M. Pictures and Passions: A History of Homosexuality in the Visual Arts. New York, NY: Viking, 2000. 114-118.

 

Mickalene Thomas

Mickalene Thomas

Mickalene Thomas is a black queer artist who uses mixed media to create large pieces of her muses, mostly black women from different races, sexualities, gender identities, and expressions.

Featured Artwork: Sleep: Deux Femmes Noires (Translates to: Two Black Women)

Date & Location: (2013) by Mickalene Thomas (Born 1971)

Media: Photography, collage, and woodblock print processes

Where can I view this artwork?: Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University in Ithica, NY (USA)

Significance to Queer Art History: This selected work from Mickalene Thomas is part of her series “Origin of the Universe” that draws from “traditional” (Read: white-centered art history) paintings. Thomas combines the pose and intention from Gustave Courbet’s Le Sommeil (Translates to: “The Sleepers”) from 1866 with her own photography and processes as a claim of black women’s place in media and art as erotic and soft, just as the women in Courbet’s painting are portrayed.

Courbet’s Le Sommeil:

Resources & Further Reading: 

Gonzalez, Desi. “MICKALENE THOMAS- Origin of the Universe.” The Brooklyn Rail. Accessed June 2017. http://brooklynrail.org/2012/11/artseen/mickalene-thomas-origin-of-the-universe.

“Sleep: Deux Femmes Noires.” Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art. Accessed June 2017. http://museum.cornell.edu/collections/modern-contemporary/mixed-media/sleep-deux-femmes-noires.