Archive for July, 2023

Eight New York Couples, by Ethan James Green

July 29, 2023

A 2019 photography show, featured in AnOther magazine in “Eight New York Couples, Photographed by Ethan James Green” by Jack Moss on 11/6/19:

Tomorrow a beautiful new series from the American photographer goes on display at the National Portrait Gallery, as part of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition

American photographer Ethan James Green rose to prominence with his black-and-white portraiture of young people in New York City: a first monograph, Young New York, published by Aperture earlier this year, collected these images, the majority of which were photographed among the parks and housing projects of the city’s Lower East Side. The subjects, who connected to Green in various ways – from the city’s fashion and art scenes to social media – primarily came from New York’s youthful LGBTQ community, united by a rejection of conformity, in its various guises. “It is about me having fun with friends and allowing them to be seen as they want to be seen,” Green said at the time.

Now, a new untitled series by Green goes on show as part of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2019 exhibition at London’s National Portrait Gallery, which opens to the public tomorrow. It marks Green’s return to the personal subject matter and style of Young New York, having spent the past year capturing increasingly high-profile figures – among them Joaquin Phoenix, Rihanna and RuPaul – for publications including American Vogue, Vanity Fair and W (Green has also contributed to both AnOther and Another Man, recently photographing Ashton Sanders for the cover of the latter). This new series, made up of eight monochrome portraits, each of a New York-based couple, is this year’s ‘In Focus’ display, a part of the Taylor Wessing exhibition which celebrates the work of an internationally renowned contemporary photographer.

Now: six of the eight couples. And then a note on the magazine from which this story comes.


The Marquis de Sad

July 29, 2023

(Innocent posting until I get to Pasolini’s Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom, a section that is absolutely not for kids or the sexually modest. I’ll issue a warning when it’s coming up.)

Today’s Wayno / Piraro Bizarro, a Psychiatrist cartoon with, on the couch, a Marquis de Sade who no longer can no longer find pleasure in blasphemy and cruelty:

(#1) Yes, a terrible pun, with sad for the model Sade (if you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 6 in this strip — see this Page)

Note that the therapist matches the Marquis in period costume, including a wig and the use of a quill pen for taking his notes.

Now, the backstory (about the actual Marquis de Sade and his writings) and the afterstory (the movie Pasolini made out of 120 Days of Sodom.


The male art of David Jester

July 28, 2023

(Naked men, most with visible penises — but this is fine art and also fantasy, so it falls under the Fine Art exemption for public display of the male body. But if you find such things objectionable, this posting is not for you.)

One sample on Pinterest caught my eye yesterday, and that took me to the Singulart site on David Jester. The text:

« There in the painting was the pool I felt I belonged to: the pool of gay men, portrayed and honored, out in the open, not hidden or something to be ashamed of. »

David Jester is an exciting American painter who has exhibited his work in the US and Netherlands. His work centers around snapshots of the gay community as he has experienced it; themes include masculinity, discrimination, submission, love and joy. The distinctive painted pools act as metaphors for the pool of humanity, particularly within the community, and the characters that appear in the water represent lived and recognizable behaviors. Particularly focusing on the impact of online interactions between gay men, Jester ultimately asks questions about identity and belonging within the family he has chosen as his own.

The underwater setting allows the men — all totally naked and matter-of-factly drawn from a wide spectrum of physical types and racioethnic identities (their being gay is what unites them, the only thing that is truly important) — to float free of gravity and interact without the constraints their bodies might otherwise impose on them. They engage each other in an enormous number of ways: in a full range of acts of affection, dominance and submission, play, displays of support, exploration of one another, and self-discovery, and, yes. in frank sexual acts (fellatio and anal intercourse). Throughout, they are presented as persons, not as objects of sexual desire.

One huge painting depicts the advancement of AIDS in a series of men going deeper and deeper in the pool. Even with the fantasy context and the abstraction that Jester uses in presenting their otherwise beautiful bodies, it’s very hard to take, and I won’t reproduce it here.

Now four examples. And then a bit about Jester, who is open, articulate, and passionate about what he’s doing in his paintings.


A letter from an old friend

July 27, 2023

Among the letters from the 7/31 issue of the New Yorker, under “Cultural Studies”, this erudite letter from Stephen Isard of Philadelphia PA, about Peter Hessler’s piece “A Double Edcation” in the 7/3 issue:

One of the math problems that Hessler’s daughters attempt to solve, as part of their challenging Chinese curriculum, asks them to find the smallest number that leaves the remainders 2, 3, and 4 when divided respectively by 3, 4, and 5. Is this a trick question of the sort that Hessler depicts his children completing in third-grade math class, the kind designed to trip students up? No. What he describes is a simple introduction to a celebrated mathematical theorem known in the English-speaking literature as the Chinese remainder theorem, which guarantees that any such problem has a solution, so long as none of the divisors (in this case, 3, 4, and 5) have a factor in common other than 1. The theorem has been attributed to the Chinese mathematical text “Sunzi Suanjing,” which was completed between the third and fifth centuries A.D., and it plays an important role in Kurt Gödel’s proof of his incompleteness theorem. Applied here, it gives the answer to the twins’ problem as 59.

Wow, Steve Isard is one of my oldest friends, going back to Cambridge MA in the early 1960s. We collaborated on some little papers in mathematics then, and eventually Steve and his wife Phoebe Acheson Isard (long gone, alas) became close friends with me and my wife Ann Daingerfield Zwicky (also long gone, alas). What a delight to see him still in the education business!



The Summer Hummer

July 27, 2023

(Male genitals — not displayed only because I fuzzed a penis out for WordPress modesty — and discussion of man-on-man sex acts in street language, so not suitable for kids or the sexually modest)

Today’s TitanMen gay porn sale ad in my e-mail (with a fellated penis you have to imagine):


The flightless kite

July 27, 2023

It’s definitely Penguin Day on AZBlog — following on my earlier “Illusory penguins ” posting — with this wonderful wordless Jared Nangle cartoon in the new New Yorker,  for 7/31:

(#1) The kite inherits its flightlessness from its subject; bird kites and butterfly kites can fly, but not penguin kites (meanwhile, a kite that could dive and swim like a fish would certainly be a disappointment)


Annals of male art: embracing the statue

July 27, 2023

On Pinterest, this image of a man embracing a (male) statue:

Gay Pygmalion and the statue he loves

This from oatbug’s Tumblr account, where it’s dated 10/7/22, with the note:

reblogged from luvwish; originally from executed-deactivated20161004

But this last link is apparently now dead, so we don’t know who the ultimate creator of the image was, and what they had in mind. I post the image here because I find it moving (but then I’m a fool for same-sex affection of all sorts). And beautifully composed.


The frozen Tortoise

July 27, 2023

First, the news event, from yesterday. Then a Facebook exchange between Greg Morrow and me, about what might have afflicted Mitch McConnell, the minority leader of the US Senate. (GM and I both deprecate the evil of the Tortoise in the sharpest terms, but this posting is entirely about what might have caused his notable freeze.)


IIlusory penguins

July 27, 2023

From my regular correspondent Ellen Kaisse yesterday:

I was walking around the grounds of a nearby high school and saw these black and white creatures off in the distance.

(#1) [AMZ:] Are those penguins, advancing upon us?

I knew they had to be football training sleds (see picture below of the closest thing I could find on the web), but they sure looked like penguins. I immediately thought of you. [AMZ: notorious penguin fan that I am]

(#2) [AMZ:] Football training sleds; you charge into them (I have actually done this)

I think if you enlarge the picture [in #1], it will keep looking like penguins, at least up to a certain magnification.

There’s a little lesson in perception here. If, for whatever reason, you are primed to search out certain things in your visual field, you are likely to “see” your target in some of the wrong places, in visuals that merely resemble the thing that so engages your attention. Penguins are one of my totem animals; I live surrounded by images of penguins and simulacra of penguins, and friends keep giving me more; so I’m attuned to penguins in a way that few other people are, and am inclined to unconsciously seek them out. Through long association with me, Ellen Kaisse has picked up some of this inclination. (My daughter and grandchild and various other friends who have been supplying me with penguiniana over the years have similarly gotten attuned to the flightless birds.)

I have written elsewhere on this blog about my perceptual sensitivity to the letter Z, ’cause I’m a Z guy. That occasionally leads me to misidentify symbols that merely resemble Z, or to fix on certain forms of the capital letter S as if they were Zs. For me, Zs lurk everywhere. (I notice spoken /z/ in much the same way, especially in word-initial position.)


The male photography of Joseph Barrett

July 26, 2023

It’s all about male faces and the great variety of masculinities — there will be six pictures —  as explored by photographer Joseph Barrett (who I was first alerted to by a 7/24 Pinterest posting).

JB’s incredibly chaotic description of what he’s about, untouched by my hand (but with some elucidating comments of mine), from his website:

Joseph Barrett Photography: See more ideas about barrett joseph pennsylvania impressionist [a completely different artist from this Joseph Barrett]. Changing the masculine portrait. Finding the essence of man in portraiture [and Redefining the male gaze]

Joseph barrett photography. Freelance photographer at self employed photography freelance photographer at self employed photography norwich university of the arts. [Norwich University of the Arts, a public university in Norwich, Norfolk, UK] Traditional notions of masculinity have been thrown out of the window. In this interview he talks about breaking preconceived notions of masculinity in the context of the gender spectrum. … [barrett:] i think it is necessary for people to see photographs without implications of gender and sexual orientation for new masculinity