Political correctness is a bad thing. It’s shortsighted and encourages repression and polar reaction, rather like Shakespeare’s lady: she doth protest too much. For me, art is about the mind, and the mind is an arena in which anything goes. One learns there to distinguish between the personal and the public. Morals develop as one moves through all the possibilities. Discernment is a must.
I am proud of having presented late-’80s and early ’90s exhibitions of rather extreme sexual work, and especially the numerous exhibitions of the drawings of Tom of Finland. He remains a master draftsman and a major influence on so many minds and bodies and artists. Inserting his work into the discussion put the hidden agenda of the repressive politically correct, which then glutted the galleries, on the table. It’s sad that Tom of Finland drawings should remain outside of art. Even to this day the dominant art worlds, especially the American versions, remain so afraid of the representation of sexuality.
During one Tom of Finland exhibition, when Feature Inc. was on Broome Street, a busload of people visited the gallery next door and a few wandered into Feature. A woman, say in her sixties, came in, carefully looked around, left, and soon returned with a male/female couple of a similar age. They were in the gallery for quite some time. On their way out, as they passed by the office, they were quietly speaking among themselves, and the woman from the couple mentioned that she thought she had just seen pornography, and the other woman replied, “Yes, but did you see the way they were drawn?” Overhearing that left me floating.
– From an interview with Hudson of Feature Inc.
by Dike Blair
The artist known only as REX has proved to be one of America’s most controversial and enduring artists. Over the past four decades his meticulously detailed pen-and-ink drawings have delighted and outraged a worldwide audience with their homoerotic subject matter, sometimes sweet and sometimes raw. He began homoerotica in the sixties at a time when such subject matter was illegal under American laws against both erotica, and homosexuality. Because signing your name to such work risked imprisonment, he became known simply as REX. For producing his work he became “persona non grata” in the American art establishment which till this day still considers his work “too hot to handle” due to some of its subject matter. Since the sixties he has lead a reclusive life as a cult figure and underground artist with an international reputation enabled thru pirated reproductions of his work first in print, and today on the internet. Forbidden to exhibit his work uncensored in the US, he is currently having the first public exhibition of his uncensored work in over 15 years at Amsterdam’s CNCPT13 gallery.