Queer artist Qing Liu wonders, “What is gay now?” That’s certainly the question on a slew of artists featured in powerHouse’s Nicholas Weist curated show, “The Male Gaze”.
As we mentioned last week, Weist and his crew of queer artists recently gathered to discuss the past, present and future of gay-flavored art. The New York Times spilled a few words over the weekend to explore the ever-changing creative zeitgeist. And, yes, former Queerty feature subject Weist had a few things to say: “The art we’re showing argues for a new kind of alternativism that reacts against the mainstream of the culture.” As Guy Trebay points out, many of the artists featured in “The Male Gaze” were born in a post-AIDS world, thus freeing their work from the nasty politics seen in an older generation of gay art.
…Most [of the artists] belong to a generation born in the ’80s and too young to have experienced AIDS’ full brunt or the identity politics of that era firsthand. Many, as has been noted by others before, have barely experienced gayness as a threatened condition. Thus they seem to have skipped past self-acceptance and the hoary dramas of the closet, and moved directly to forms of expression that are frank, exuberant, celebratory, bawdy and not infrequently marked by the spirit of juvenilia that the (heterosexual) photographer and filmmaker Larry Clark has been mining for years.
Though the works may come across as effervescent, Trebay’s quick to point out that there’s more than meets the eye:
Still, nostalgia remains a powerful current running through the new gay male art scene, manifest as a longing for what, from a distance, looks like the utopian days of radical and pre-AIDS politics and unfettered sex.
A prime example can be found in Toronto-based artist, Paul P’s aesthetic. Here are a few of his stunning color-pencil portraits.