23 October 2012

Naked Men Exhibition Causes a Reaction

If you've always suspected that the nude male form is a work of art, you're more unique than you think. Vast swathes of the world are still afraid of the nude male body - which seems rather strange given social media and fashion mags which proliferate with such images.
Elmgreen & Dragset, Shepherd Boy (Tank Top), (2009)

The prestigious Leopold Museum in Vienna has sparked controversy with Naked Men, an exhibition on the theme of... naked men. Posters advertising the show around Vienna have been covered up with red gaffer tape and some have been removed altogether.
The show includes works spanning the period from the Enlightenment until the present, supplemented by important reference works from ancient Egypt, Greek vase paintings and works from the Renaissance. In other words, nothing that you won't immediately see once you log onto the internet. Beginning with Ancient Greece, the exhibition addresses the depiction of men through the ages. Another focus is on the nude self-portraits of the Expressionists Egon Schiele and Richard Gerstl as well as the change in the perception of naked men after 1945. On display are works by Albrecht Dürer, Peter Paul Rubens, Paul Cézanne, Auguste Rodin, Gustav Klimt, Edvard Munch, Giovanni Giacometti, Egon Schiele, Maria Lassnig, Andy Warhol, Alfred Hrdlicka, Günter Brus, Robert Mapplethorpe, Keith Haring, Heimo Zobernig and others.At the turn of the century, Klimt believed that nakedness and truth coincided and Egon Schiele began to make his own body the object of his paintings. Expressionism brought with it a radical examination of the self, which saw the artists exposing themselves both physically and existentially and exploring the use of their own nudity.

The exhibition unites examples of many different genres and is on until January 2013.

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