New York’s Venus Over Manhattan gallery this month is featuring the exhibit #Rawhide, celebrating the cowboy in art. So, in turn I got inspired to curate my own online exhibition #HeySailor!, here. Today’s the last day of Fleet Week in New York (see Andy Cohen‘s tribute to these 7 days, above) and these visuals tend to skew toward male camaraderie that months at sea must induce. I settled on this show moniker before I discovered there was a book by a similar name. According to Hello Sailor! The Hidden History of Homosexuality at Sea, from 1945 to 1985 British merchant ships were ‘gay heavens.’ Passenger, cargo and Royal Fleet ships were the main workplace where men could be out (and camp). Who knew? My little visual history runs the narrow gamut from vintage pics to Bruce Weber to Tom of Finland – sort of A to B and back again. Happy Memorial Day!
Luke Smalley’s Retrospective just opened at Clamp Art in New York this last week, surveying the late photographer’s work. Many early images of Smalley’s were inspired by yearbooks and fitness manuals. After earning a degree, in sports medicine, Smalley became interested in fine art (while earning money from modeling and working as a personal trainer). Ian Hannett writes:
“He soon created a short film based on male swimmers, which he took unannounced to [the book publisher] Jack Woody sometime in the early 1980s. Woody’s company, Twin Palms Publishers/Twelvetrees Press, then located in Pasadena, had recently printed a monograph for artist Bruce Weber, to which Smalley strongly related and greatly admired. Smalley was a quiet, relaxed individual who was easy to be around, and he and Woody soon struck up a casual friendship. Woody began taking the young artist to various Hollywood parties where he met many celebrities of the day, including people such as Herb Ritts, who also would serve as later inspiration.”
It was around this that Smalley formulated the idea for his series black and white series Gymnasium, which took fifteen years to complete. Four years later came Smalley’s second major series, Exercise at Home, which marked his foray into color and further explored themes of…
“adolescent growing pains acted out under the guise of earnest athleticism.”
Teenagers compete in simple but strange competitions in order to establish their standing within the group. In 2009 came Sunday Drive which was shown at ClampArt in the fall of 2009, but sadly the artist passed away in May of that year and never saw its success realized. The exhibit runs through May 9 at Clamp Art.
RIP. The contact sheet is dead. I spent a LOT of time in my life looking at these. As a former Art Director, I got to look at them, good ones, more than most people, I guess – from Helmut Newton, Bruce Weber, Duane Michaels, Irving Penn. But now, with digital photography, they are no longer “a thing”. A new exhibit, “Magnum Contact Sheets” reveals just how photographers that shot for the venerable agency, Magnum, have captured and edited their best shots the better part of the 20th century. It’s the photographer’s first look at what they’ve captured on film, and gives the viewer a look inside how they shoot and think and what’ ends up being THE shot. This show includes both celebrated icons of photography and lesser-known surprises and functions as an “epitaph” to the long-lost contact sheet. This exhibition expands upon the exhibit of the same name that premiered at the ICP in 2012. Its runs through July 6. And you can purchase a limited edition book and enlarged versions of these shown here. I’m seriously thinking about Elizabeth Taylor by Burt Glinn.