For the first time ever, Antwerp’s internationally recognized Leather & Fetish Pride at the Darklands festival showcases over 200 images from REX’s incredible career in art. The majority of this art in this retrospective has never been allowed public exhibition due to government censorship and the scourge of political correctness.
To honor his 50th anniversary of producing iconic Homo-erotica for the Gay fetish world, Jeroen van Lievenoogen and his team have honored REX with the largest exhibition of his art ever held. Half of the exhibited art will be located in the REX Arena play area, which REX claims is, “the place where it belongs”. Still more work can be seen at the REX Bar and REX Stand, where art, catalogs, fine art prints, cards and posters offered for purchase.
The objective of REX’WORLD: Back to the Future is to make the “impossible” possible: After a half century of creating iconic fetish art for the gay community, REX images have become ubiquitous around the world as “anonymous art”, that is endlessly copied and circulated on line without permission, payment or credit for decades now. Now in his vintage years, this much censored and ignored artist is to be honored with this rare European exhibit, which highlights five decades of his pioneering contribution to gay history.
The fact they have a hard-on when viewing this material makes them more likely to surrender themselves to these images. Yes, this is pornography – sorry about that – and its purpose is to excite and arose sexually to the point of orgasm. Whether you think you like it or not. After alcohol does its work, all moral or intellectual resistance to this work fades – this work comes “alive” as you’ve never seen it before. Even for myself when viewing it stoned (Did I really draw this?). Sexual situations are its proper setting and purpose. And in this “darkroom area” at Darklands these images being the only available soft light, people will be like sitting-ducks to the power of these images – inescapable – regardless of whether they think they like this stuff or not. Their libidos will decide the issue for them. The Darklands organizers seem very much “on board” but we should keep rubbing their nose in how spectacular this could be if, they are only daring enough to keep thinking “outside the box” in promoting this once-in-a-lifetime show for both: them and myself. I can’t imagine, I will EVER top this presentation we are mounting. I can die a happy – if poor – man after this. And after all, this is about the future and the future is always about the unexpected. -REX
Runs through 25th February
I wish to thank the members of the Foundation for honoring me with this award.
I accept it for myself and on behalf of all the nameless and now forgotten gay artists of my generation who pioneered in making both the art world in particular and society in general, first become aware that an audience for such art existed.
Against prejudice, violence, and bigotry we took pride in openly displaying our lifestyles to the larger world a half-century ago.
Mine was the first generation that came out of the closet to the art world a decade “before” Stonewall.
We paid a heavy price in those early days for drawing dirty pictures as they were then called, sacrificing in many cases, our lives, jobs, familly ties and homes for daring to depict The Love That Dare Not Speak it’s Name.
Our art was burned and destroyed in raids by police and postal authorities.
The work was condemned and spit upon by church and state, and especially by the legitimate art world for whom we were rude intruders storming the gates of their conservative ivory towers.
What we dared to depict of the naked male form were criminal acts back then and those of us who portrayed them, criminals.
So addressing you today in this Pantheon of gay art that Durk Dehner has created from scratch, is for me coming full circle with our shared past which began 38 years ago.
I dare say Durk and I go back to the “very beginning” of our separate but similar journeys to form a cohesive American gay art movement in the nineteen sixties.
Since day one and over the decades since, I have borne witness to his unrelenting dedication in raising public awareness of gay art, first nationally and later internationally.
He achieved this incrementally step-by-step over the decades against overwhelming odds and intense hostility until finally bringing it to the wide acceptance gay art now holds today.
Without Durk the art on these walls, the books on these shelves, infact this very building and the people gathered in it would not be here today were it not for his fierce determination in bringing his vision of a universal gay aesthetic into reality.
Without his unstinting dedication the entire gay liberation movement of the nineteen seventies would have lost a major cornerstone of its foundation and ongoing success.
I among many other artists exhibiting here today, and at all the previous ToFF art fairs, would not have had the opportunity to exhibit our work to a wider public without that dedication.
Therefore it is with great humility I accept this honor on behalf of all those fallen artists of my generation who fell in our epic battle to bring gay art to the prominence it currently enjoys.