Good idea but a bit flawed. Last year’s selection of visual art was nowhere near as good as the films and documents shown at the festival. By focussing on gay artists who address their sexuality in their art the selection panel are isolating countless talented gay artists who’s work is broader in theme and relates to more than just sexuality. A bit of a missed trick.
C: I totally know where you are coming from.
As usual: Trying to fit in and be part of society by standing out like a sore thumb and waving our genitals at everyone.
What’s wrong with just being an artist and taking your chances with everyone else? What’s the big deal about being a “gay artist”? It’s not like paraplegics that do mouth painting. I guess unless you hold a paintbrush with your dick.
Why then do we have a dedicated film festivals for lesbian & gay films, or why do we have Pride. If we cannot celebrate our sexuality and the our art why bother with the other initiatives.
I wonder whether the critisiams / comments or observations made would be the same if the festival had another director rather than an Asian director.
A; the point Rob_N and I are trying to make is that the gay art world (if there is one) shouldn’t have to revolve around a gay guy’s cock. There are countless gay artists who’s work address things other than just sex and sexuality. Yet its the work that resembles a Tom of Finland drawing (for example) which is more readily accepted. Why not encourage the ‘Jasper Johns’ of London? Gay artists who make work not necessarily relating to sex, in fact who make work about anything other than sex.
Art should be judged on its own merit and not necessarily on the sexuality of the artist or the content / theme of the work. However the recent banning by Dudley Council, would indicate that not the case – all arts do not have access to equal platforms.
I didn’t think the festival was solely for arts that revolves around a guy’s cock as it also includes women! LESBIANS and TRANSGENDER – judging from the last few years there are a plethora of issues and themes that have been showcased.
Jasper John may choose not to create imagery related to sexuality or to reflect the issues that arise as a result of his sexuality. However there are artists who do choose to do so. Does the work of these artists have access to the same opportunities as the Jasper John’s of London?
Jasper John’s succeeded on his own merits. Not by attaching himself to a specific social group. Why should art be visually demographic? Why not throw the arts festival open to ALL LGBT artists and not as the blurb states; “Art works focusing on challenging LGBT and queer themes will be given preference”. There’s very little challenging about seeing a painting of a cock for the umpteenth time, which is unfortunately all these shows ever amount to. If the selection panel were a little more discerning in their choice of works and opened it to all LGBT artists regardless of what their work was about it may prove more successful. As for the show including works by lesbians and transgender artists that may well be but all I remember from last year’s show was cock, torso, cock- and that’s not cause I have a one track mind. With regards to the artists’ works having the same access as someone like Jasper Johns, for all we know they COULD have access to the same opportunities, but some may choose not to associate themselves with this particular event.
Rob_N . . . you have wicked sense of humour
Thanks for the chuckle this lunch time.
I am looking for a paint brush as I type, if Elephants can do it with their trunks . . . . . . . !!!
Jasper John may have succeed on his own merit as do artists who DO choose to create work based o their sexuality, gender identity , ethnicity , religion, socio- cultural or economic backgrounds. Are we not all attached to one or more social groups – be it based on sexuality in this case or ethnicity, or gender …. And has history not proven itself enough times that being part of a minority does preclude you from opportunities accessed by those not from minority. And if we are talking ‘ecstatically’ pleasing does this not differ from person to person. Or do we all, in a bid to be considered the same, loose that sense of self identity!
As for the festival amounting to seeing cock for the umpteenth time – well I wonder could this be because as individuals we choose to focus on what we like and ignore all else i.e. in a supermarket we choose to pick one types of food over another and hence in this case focusing on cock as that is in reality all that we may be interested in seeing. Negating the fact that there is an abundance of ‘other items’ on display but we choose not to ‘pick’ these instead of our dear old cock J
Unfortunately research has also indicated that contrary to belief – the Johns do not have access to the same opportunities and in order to create that access there is a need for dedicated / singular initiatives and efforts ( did I mention single Equalities Bill or Civil partnerships!!!)
On the contrary, history has proven (at least in artistic terms) that being part of a minority isn’t detrimental. You’ll find that the majority of groundbreaking, innovative and successful movements were the result of a small body of artists thinking similarily and acting as pioneers. It just so happened that Jasper Johns had Pop Art, his sexuality was never part of the equation, he didn’t differentiate himself as being Gay and an Artist, just an artist. Why can’t the organisers at GFest see this?
I dunno why you’ve mentioned Civil Partnerships in your above argument, you’re clouding a pretty straightforward discussion about the merits of specifying one group of people over another. I could mention the term “positive discrimination”, in that the organisers have requested work which relates to LGBT issues as opposed to just work by LGBT artists.
Also in your first post you mentioned the festival having an Asian director and that being the possible reason for our negativity towards the Gfest, you’re probably the only person who noticed this, I didn’t and nor did Rob_N. What we took issue with was the quality and content of the art work.
I would beg to differ as I do believe that history has proven that being part of a minority even ‘artistically speaking’ can be detrimental. If this were not the case, why do we have ‘artistically speaking’ programmes to support other minority arts strands. The establishment of the programme preceded by a premise that there is a lack of opportunity for members from a particular marginalised group and hence the need to provide targeted support or platforms.
With regards to the ground breaking, innovative.. pioneering work – may I mention ‘gay sweatshop’ or ‘House of Homosexual Culture’ had this not come about, would we even be able to have a debate on this? Just as Jasper John had pop art the sweatshop sweatshop & HHC had art that was influenced by their sexuality. They chose to differentiate.
Civil partnership was within the context of on occasion having the need to go to the extent of legislating to ensure equality! As you say you can mention the term ‘Positive discrimination’ but do we not already do that in form or another throughout our lives. We choose one thing over another or within a public context would having signs saying seats are reserved for elderly and disabled not count as positive discrimination , would all women short-lists not also be classified as ‘positive discrimination’
With regards to identifying the artistic director’s ethnicity, it was the wider issue that we have of racism within the LGBT community. I was merely asking as they do not seem to have been made with regards to other gay festivals or initiatives. Is it wrong to make an observation on a fact that exists? If it is then how do we differ from those that choose to persecute on the grounds of our sexuality
So Based on this concept, do we have an “Art by gay people” show, or a “Gay art by people” show?
I am personally involved in a photographic exhibition to coincide with Pride, with work taken by gay photographers. Yes, there are the usual suspects of semi-clad and naked men , but there are also landscapes, architecture, still lifes and much more.
It’s not so much a representative of “gay art” as a bunch of guys that happen to be both gay and into photography. There is no pseudo-political point being made here. We could just as easily be the Tunbridge Wells Ladies Knitting Club.
Oh, and JohnK: It’s nice for once that people see that my tongue is far too often plunged in cheek. Nice to see someone has a laugh instead of bitching about it.
Just go and check out the Leighton House in London, an artist that didn’t wear his sexuality on his sleeve. It’s gay heaven people.