Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-08-31
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  NIGHTSPOTS

Tales from the Sexual Underground
by Rick Reed
2003-12-10

This article shared 1810 times since Wed Dec 10, 2003
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


PHOTOSEX: A New Book Ponders the Old Question: But Is It Art?

It was 13 years ago when a Robert Mapplethorpe exhibit at Cincinnati's Contemporary Arts Center sparked controversy, and national headlines, with Mapplethorpe's graphic depictions of sexuality. A national debate ensued: how to distinguish between art and obscenity?

I wondered the same thing when I read about a new book called PHOTOSEX, Fine Art Sexual Photography Comes of Age (Down There Press, $35). Is it just subjective: one man's smut is anotherís revelation?

PHOTOSEX was the brainchild of David Steinberg, who assembled his own work and that of 30 other photographers to explore sexuality in an artful way. Salon.com called Steinberg the "Allan Freed of sexual photography," and went on to say that "Steinberg is leading an equally daring cultural revolution in an effort to free sexual photography from decades of wholesale dismissal as pornography and have it taken seriously as fine art." Well, dirty pictures and art are two of my favorite things, so the possibility of them not being mutually exclusive is something that has always intrigued me. I had to take a look and determine for myself if this was jerk-off material, or something that truly deserved to be well hung in a snooty loft gallery where cultural aesthetes could bandy its merit over bad wine and Brie.

For erotic photography to have a visceral connection with the mind as well as the genitals, it has to appeal equally to the physical, emotional, and intellectual. To discover if PHOTOSEX had the goods, I flashed my Nightspots press badge at Down There Press and the obliging folks, quicker than you can say "rim job,î had a copy in my fevered little hands.

I can't deny that I couldn't keep those hands out of my pants when I came across such delights as a photograph of the late porn star Scott O'Hara ejaculating into his own mouth. And that whap whap whap sound you may have heard as I gazed at Mark I. Chester's Ken and Bill was not applause (the photo depicts a hairy Daddy wearing nothing but a hard on and riding boots being kissed by his boy, who kneels naked at his side).

I desperately wanted PHOTOSEX to combine sex and art, to make them inseparable. Luckily, PHOTOSEX fit the bill, with works filled with stunning compositions, pathos, humor, and heat. Once the shock wore off from seeing Chester's six nudes of a man unabashedly exposing his KS lesions, my breath was taken away by both the subject's and the artist's courage. And I think Diane Arbus would have approved of Charles Gatewood's "Marco Vassi with Doll," a loving portrait of a happy man with his inflatable, perpetually-surprised companion. David Steinbergís photo of a man with a shaved head and black fingernails being penetrated from behind by a woman is hauntingly beautiful with its contrasts, and play of light and shadow. The play of light and shadow is again at work, along with texture one can almost touch, in Paul Dahlquist's "Power," which depicts the powerfully muscled ass and back of a Black man as he penetrates his alabaster white partner.

PHOTOSEX titillates. It arouses. And it leaves a brand on your brain with images fiery enough to remain with you long after you close the book. And that's what makes it art.


This article shared 1810 times since Wed Dec 10, 2003
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Bisexual, pansexual leaders meet with HHS officials in historic roundtable 2022-09-23
- For Bisexual Awareness Week, bisexual and pansexual community leaders met with federal agency officials at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Sept. 20 to discuss remedies to the health disparities facing the bisexual ...


Gay News

DoJ announces $22M to address, prevent sexual assault on campuses 2022-09-23
- The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) announced nearly $22 million in upcoming grant awards to address and prevent sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking on college campuses; provide services to youth victims and children ...


Gay News

WORLD Malta PM, Kenya official, Kharkiv Pride, sex-education campaign 2022-09-18
- Malta Prime Minister Robert Abela has promised reforms for the country's LGBTQ+ community, including free gender-affirming surgery for trans people, according to PinkNews. In an interview with ONE Radio, he said, "I believe that social reform ...


Gay News

Suburban priest once again faces sexual-assault allegations 2022-09-18
- A priest in the Chicago suburbs is on leave once again after sexual-assault allegations have been leveled against him, according to ABC 7 Chicago. Father David Ryan, the pastor at Lake Zurich's Saint Francis de Sales ...


Gay News

BOOKS Kemi Adeyemi on 'Feels Right: Black Queer Women and the Politics of Partying in Chicago' 2022-09-12
- Author and University of Washington Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies Assistant Professor Kemi Adeyemi is out with a new book, Feels Right: Black Queer Women and the Politics of Partying in Chicago. The book, set to ...


Gay News

Ricky Martin sues 'maladjusted' nephew for $20 million [UPDATE] 2022-09-08
- Actor/singer/author Ricky Martin has filed a $20-million lawsuit against the nephew who accused him of sexual abuse, Deadline reported. "The reckless, malicious and culpable actions by Defendant Sanchez were motivated by the desire to expose Plaintiff ...


Gay News

Court upholds injunction blocking Ark. ban on healthcare for trans youth 2022-08-25
- On Aug. 25, a federal appeals court has said that Arkansas cannot enact Act 626, its law banning gender-affirming healthcare for transgender youth because the law relies on sex discrimination, LGBTQ Nation reported. The three-judge panel ...


Gay News

Singapore to decriminalize same-sex relations, but will ban marriage equality 2022-08-22
- Singapore will decriminalize sex between men by repealing a colonial-era statute but will amend the constitution to ensure same-sex marriage is not allowed, ABC News reported. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he believed repealing the ...


Gay News

Florida school to refer to students by 'biological sex' and ask LGBTQ+ students to leave 2022-08-21
- A religious school in Florida said it will only refer to students by their sex assigned at birth, while pupils who are LGBTQ+ "will be asked to leave the school immediately," NBC News reported. A June ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Okla. schools, Tenn. lawsuit, political items, Mich. library 2022-08-07
Video below - Oklahoma public schools have started requiring students from kindergarten to college to complete "biological sex affidavits" if they want to compete in school sports, in accordance with a state law that took effect earlier this year, ...


Gay News

Uganda government forces LGBTQ+ group to shut down 2022-08-07
- An LGBTQI+-rights group in Uganda said the country's government forced it to shut down, according to The Washington Blade. Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), in a press release, said Uganda's National ...


Gay News

BOOKS Inside Sinkhole, a darkly comic coming-of-age fiction 2022-08-06
- Davida G. Breier's debut book, Sinkhole, takes readers on a trip to rural Florida in the 1980s. Amidst golf courses, mobile homes and alligators, some things on the agenda: friendship, identity, sexuality, grief and murder. Breier ...


Gay News

Sinema plans to sign on Senate Democrats' climate, health and tax bill 2022-08-05
- U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) announced Aug. 4 that she will "move forward" with Democrats' massive climate, prescription drug and spending bill, after fellow party members appeared to reach an agreement about her concerns with the ...


Gay News

Judge: Kevin Spacey owes almost $31 million 2022-08-04
- On Aug. 4, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mel Red Recana confirmed that embattled actor Kevin Spacey must pay House of Cards producer MRC nearly $31 million for alleged sexual misconduct behind the scenes of the ...


Gay News

Sexual-misconduct report findings force Chicago charter-school leader to leave 2022-08-04
- A Chicago Public Schools inspector general's report substantiating allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct with a student forced Tim King, the head of a prominent charter school network, to resign recently, WBEZ reported. King, who founded Urban ...


 



Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor


 

Sponsor


Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.