Tuesday, May 6, 2008

All Those Beautiful Boys

Speaking of boring gays and expensive art (see previous post), here are some musings about shows that all opened in the same time-frame last month in New York, representing a spectrum of high-end/low-end art production models and art world fagiolis in general..

Ryan McGinley @ Team!
The best part of Ryan McGinley will always be his openings---eww, no, that's not what I mean! I mean all the fabulous skinny giraffe boys and artfag mafia that attend his openings (and star in his photographs). This current body of work was miles ahead of the puzzling and unenjoyable Morissey concert photos of his premiere Team offering. Ryan toured the country with a group of beautiful nude ectomorphs of both sexes (embodying such an otherworldy level of litheness and lethargy, perhaps more like a hipster third sex of some kind..). Such an envious proposition resulted in less joy than you might think: his romantic posings, alternately leaping, running, or in repose, are rendered with a kind of affectless flatness which I find characteristic of his photos; slightly distanced, the figures dissolving into the landscape like a Natural History Museum diorama, these post-sexual gazelle-like children always fleeing, flying, the exact opposite of the cum-shot confrontations of, say, Terry Richardson (who was there, of course). The NY Times critic's review of the show discouraged his use of fireworks (a recurrent motif) in which nude figures are suspended in a nimbus of pyrotechnic energy, but I disagree, they lend a supernatural exuberance which counterbalance the few shots that threaten to disappear into their own indolence...

Scott Treleaven @ John Connelly Presents!
This show was so charming and sexy I wanted to buy half-a-dozen pieces on the spot, but settled for a catalog. Scott makes very mannered, adorational photo-collage altarpieces in the spirit of xeroxed gay-punk zines, Derek Jarman, or a more occultish, back-alley Pierre & Gilles...the naked punk youths in his stark pictures usher the viewer into a baroque reliquary in which the sophomoric symbology (skulls, floral japonisme, wolves, the occult, human sacrifice) does seem to somehow work in summoning up my inner goth-punk buried deep down inside forgotten queer teenage feelings...

Murakami @ Brooklyn Museum
It just wouldn't be complete if I didn't include this surreptitiously snapped shot of the infamous My Lonesome Cowboy, Murakami's sole nod to the explicit gay manga subgenre (a medium not short on other deviant sexual behaviors like misogyny, rape, child porn, psycho-sexual torture and other family-friendly fare). In fact I really can't believe the number of strollers and kids I had to dodge around at this opening, granted it was the first-friday free-family day-care center at the museum, and the work is awfully bright and full of festive cartoon figures, but a little research ahead of time might have saved parents a lot of embarrassment and awkward explanations about Murakami's scatalogical, putrescent and somewhat alarming artwork.
I loved Peter Schjeldahl's frank statements about the show in the New Yorker:
"I don't like Murakami's work, but my dislike, being moody, feels out of scale with the artist's terrific energy and ambition...His aim is to control and standardize aesthetic experience, forcing viewers into an infantile mold of rote response. Warhol, with his..color and catchy evidence of manual touch, is Rubens by comparison. But Warhol as marketer, not as artist, is Murakami's lodestar."
Also: "Murakami seems averse to a cardinal obligation that Warhol, Koons, and Hirst accept: the duty to seduce. But to actively woo the eye and tantalize the mind implies the possible existence of resistant viewers." If an underwhelmed Scheldahl found solace in the naked avarice of the built-in Vuitton boutique, I admit to being sucked in, seduced, and twirled around like a lariat of semen around that maniacally grinning boy's head.
REBLOG update (posted by Ed Winkleman, May 15):
My Lonesome Cowboy... "inspired by a Japanese video game hero with a swirling semen lasso, fetched more than five times its $3 million low estimate. At $15.2 million, it may be the most expensive ejaculation ever auctioned. (A Sotheby's spokeswoman said that's one category they don't track.)"

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