Why Naked Men Get Short Shrift

Why does the male nude get no respect?

For centuries, naked women in Western art have been openly celebrated as objects of desire. From Botticelli’s coy Birth of Venus circa 1485 to Annie Leibovitz’s 1991 portrait of a heavily pregnant Demi Moore, the female form has been idealized as a thing of beauty.

Pity the naked man. Popes throughout history have covered up the private parts of male nude sculptures in Vatican City. Even history’s most famous male nude, Michelangelo’s David, was subjected to the constrictions of modesty: London museum officials ordered a fig leaf be placed strategically over a replica in a London museum, after it shocked Queen Victoria.

So it may not have come as a total surprise for the organizers of Nude Men, a new exhibit at the Leopold Museum in Vienna, that the show would generate some controversy.

Nude Men begins with statues from antiquity, including one of the Egyptian court official Snofrunefer dated 2400 B.C. But the bulk of the show chronicles developments in the past 200 years.

To promote the show, the Leopold hung 180 large posters in Vienna of Vive la France, a 2006 photograph by the French artists Pierre Commoy and Gilles Blanchard showing three fully naked men posing with soccer balls. The ensuing criticism caused museum officials to draft contingency plans for protests and cover the players strategically with red ribbons.

READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE BY MARY M. LANE

 

 

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Holiday Gifts for the Entertainer

Coffee-Table Tome from Taschen That Reflects Your Interests

 

When Touko Laaksonen, the boy who became Tom of Finland, began drawing bikers it was the same year Marlon Brando showed the world it’s first leatherman by playing the leader of a motorcycle club in 1953’s The Wild One. Decades later, Tom of Finland Vol. II: Bikers by Dian Hanson features some of the artist’s best  multi-panel comics and single panel drawings and paintings.

 

 

 

Bonus, it comes with a Panic Jacket, which lets you turn the book from sexy to serious in case grandma is visiting. $17.99.

 

 

 

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