A Hans-Peter Feldman outside the Cobra
Outside the Cobra Museum in Amstelveen one is greeted by a gigantic copy of Michelangelo’s David, with his flesh painted Barbie-doll pink—and hair (above both heads) colored a Day-Glo blond (by Hans-Peter Feldman). From both Italian Renaissance depictions of idealized male beauty to Aryan versions created by contemporary artists, romanticized ideals don’t often jibe with day-to-day reality.
"Peter Hujar Dreaming/Yukio Mishima: St. Sebastian" 1982
Acrylic and spray paint on masonite, 121.92x121.92cm
The show “Just Different!” attempts to present the idealized Dutch version of an accepting post-queer museum show in a land where ugly reality forces progressive politicians into hiding.
“One of the big achievements of the Western civilized world is the realization that human sexuality is more complex than the straightjacket that restrained our thinking in the 19th and 20th centuries. Not until the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st century did broad layers of the population begin to accept bisexuality, homosexuality and transexuality. In some European countries, however, this emancipation is still very much taboo today. Not long ago in Milan, for example, a major presentation of homosexuality and art was banned by the city council the day before it was due to open, principally because it included an explicit nude photograph of a hermaphrodite.”
"Trailer for a Remake of Gore Vidal's Caligula" 2005
35mm film transferred to DVD, 5:00min
Similarly, Dutch artist Sooreh Hera had her work of Iranian gay men pulled from a show in The Hague, so it appears that museums in The Netherlands are not as free of the straightjacketed thinking as the picture they paint of the Western civilized world. That Western-centric view of steady enlightened progress is a bit of revisionist thinking itself, as Ancient and Medieval times (along with non-Western cultures) did not institutionalize their homophobia as did the industrial-era West. But perhaps if one continually repeats the message of broad acceptance—like the messages of our current political campaigns—eventually it will be unquestioningly accepted.
Del LaGrace Volcano
"Hermaphrodite Torso" 1999
Giclee print, 120x90cm
Chi Peng's Self-Portrait with One Breast Photoshopped In