Archive for January 24th, 2013


Exhibition: ‘WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath’ at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston – Posting Part 4

Exhibition dates: 11th November 2012 – 3rd February 2013


Anonymous photographer. 'Under blue & gray – Gettysburg' July 1913


Anonymous photographer
Under blue & gray – Gettysburg
July 1913
Photo shows the Gettysburg Reunion (the Great Reunion) of July 1913, which commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.



Part 4 of the biggest posting on one exhibition that I have ever undertaken on Art Blart!

As befits the gravity of the subject matter this posting is so humongous that I have had to split it into 4 separate postings. This is how to research and stage a contemporary photography exhibition that fully explores its theme. The curators reviewed more than one million photographs in 17 countries, locating pictures in archives, military libraries, museums, private collections, historical societies and news agencies; in the personal files of photographers and service personnel; and at two annual photojournalism festivals producing an exhibition that features 26 sections (an inspired and thoughtful selection) that includes nearly 500 objects that illuminate all aspects of WAR / PHOTOGRAPHY.

I have spent hours researching and finding photographs on the Internet to support the posting. It has been a great learning experience and my admiration for photographers of all types has increased. I have discovered the photographs and stories of new image makers that I did not know and some enlightenment along the way. I despise war, I detest the state and the military that propagate it and I surely hate the power, the money and the ethics of big business that support such a disciplinarian structure for their own ends. I hope you meditate on the images in this monster posting, an exhibition on a subject matter that should be consigned to the history books of human evolution.

**Please be aware that there are graphic photographs in all of these postings.** Part 1Part 2Part 3

Dr Marcus Bunyan

Many thankx to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston for allowing me to publish some of the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.




25. Photographs in the “Memorials” section range from the tomb of an unknown World War I soldier in England, by Horace Nicholls; and a landscape of black German crosses throughout a World War II burial site, by Bertrand Carrière; to an anonymous photograph of a reunion scene in Gettysburg of the opposing sides in the Civil War; and Joel Sternfeld’s picture of a woman and her daughter at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, in 1986. (8 images)


Horace Nicholls. 'The Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abbey, London, November 1920' 1920


Horace Nicholls (English, 1867-1941)
The Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abbey, London, November 1920
Silver gelatin print
© IWM (Q 31514)



In order to commemorate the many soldiers with no known grave, it was decided to bury an ‘Unknown Warrior’ with all due ceremony in Westminster Abbey on Armistice Day in 1920. The photograph shows the coffin resting on a cloth in the nave of Westminster Abbey before the ceremony at the Cenotaph and its final burial.


Bertrand Carrière. 'Untitled' 2005-2009


Bertrand Carrière (Canadian, b. 1957)
From the series Lieux Mêmes [Same Places]


Joel Sternfeld (American, b. 1944) 'Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington, D.C.,' May 1986


Joel Sternfeld (American, b. 1944)
Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington, D.C.,
May 1986
Chromogenic print, ed. #1/25 (printed October 1986)
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Target Collection of American Photography, gift of the artist
© 1986 Joel Sternfeld




26. The last gallery in the exhibition is “Remembrance.” Most of these images were taken by artists seeking to come to terms with a conflict after fighting had ceased. Included are Richard Avedon’s picture of a Vietnamese napalm victim; a survivor of a machete attack in a Rwandan death camp, by James Nachtwey; a 1986 portrait of a hero who rescued Jews during the Holocaust, by Houston native Gay Block; and Suzanne Opton’s 2004 portrait of a soldier who survived the Iraq War and returned to the United States to work as a police officer, only to be murdered on duty by a fellow veteran. The final wall features photographs by Simon Norfolk of sunrises at the five D-Day beaches in 2004. The only reference to war is the title of the series: The Normandy Beaches: We Are Making a New World(33 images)


Richard Avedon. 'Napalm Victim #1, Saigon, South Vietnam, April 29, 1971' 1971


Richard Avedon (American, 1923-2004)
Napalm Victim #1, Saigon, South Vietnam, April 29, 1971
Silver gelatin print
© Richard Avedon


Gay Block (American, b.1942) 'Zofia Baniecka, Poland' 1986


Gay Block (American, b. 1942)
Zofia Baniecka, Poland
From the series Rescuers: Portraits of Moral Courage in the Holocaust, a record of non-Jewish citizens from European countries who risked their lives helping to hide Jews from the Nazis
Chromogenic print, printed 1994
Courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, gift of Clinton T. Wilour in honour of Eve France



Zofia Baniecka (born 1917 in Warsaw – 1993) was a Polish member of the Resistance during World War II. In addition to relaying guns and other materials to resistance fighters, Baniecka and her mother rescued over 50 Jews in their home between 1941 and 1944.


James Nachtwey. 'A Hutu man who did not support the genocide had been imprisoned in the concentration camp, was starved and attacked with machetes. He managed to survive after he was freed and was placed in the care of the Red Cross, Rwanda, 1994' 1994


James Nachtwey (American, b. 1948)
A Hutu man who did not support the genocide had been imprisoned in the concentration camp, was starved and attacked with machetes. He managed to survive after he was freed and was placed in the care of the Red Cross, Rwanda, 1994
Silver gelatin print
© James Nachtwey / TIME


Simon Norfolk (British, b. Nigeria, 1963) 'Sword Beach' 2004


Simon Norfolk (British, b. Nigeria, 1963)
Sword Beach
From the series The Normandy Beaches: We Are Making a New World
Chromogenic print, ed. #1/10 (printed 2006)
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, gift of Bari and David Fishel, Brooke and Dan Feather and Hayley Herzstein in honor of Max Herzstein and a partial gift of the artist and Gallery Luisotti, Santa Monica
© Simon Norfolk / Gallery Luisotti



Other photographs from the exhibition

Matsumoto Eiichi (Japanese, 1915-2004) 'Shadow of a soldier remaining on the wooden wall of the Nagasaki military headquarters (Minami-Yamate machi, 4.5km from Ground Zero)' 1945


Matsumoto Eiichi (Japanese, 1915-2004)
Shadow of a soldier remaining on the wooden wall of the Nagasaki military headquarters (Minami-Yamate machi, 4.5km from Ground Zero)
Gelatin silver print
Collection of the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography
© Matsumoto Eiichi


Gilles Caron (French, 1939-1970) 'Young Catholic demonstrator on Londonderry Wall, Northern Ireland' 1969


Gilles Caron (French, 1939-1970)
Young Catholic demonstrator on Londonderry Wall, Northern Ireland
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of Foundation Gilles Caron and Contact Press Images
© Gilles Caron


Alexander Gardner (American, 1821-1882) ‘The Home of a Rebel Sharpshooter, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania’. Albumen paper print


Alexander Gardner (American, 1821-1882)
The Home of a Rebel Sharpshooter / Dead Confederate soldier in the devil’s den, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
July 1863
Albumen paper print copied from glass, wet collodion negative
Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division


Ziv Koren (Israeli, b.1970) 'A sniper’s-eye view of Rafah, in the Southern Gaza strip, during an Israeli military sweep' 2006


Ziv Koren (Israeli, b. 1970)
A sniper’s-eye view of Rafah, in the Southern Gaza strip, during an Israeli military sweep
Inkjet print, printed 2012
© Ziv Koren/Polaris Images


David Leeson American, b.1957 'Death of a Soldier, Iraq' March 24, 2003


David Leeson (American, b. 1957)
Death of a Soldier, Iraq
March 24, 2003
Inkjet print, printed 2012
Courtesy of the artist


August Sander German, 1876-1964 'Soldier' c. 1940


August Sander (German, 1876-1964)
c. 1940
Gelatin silver print, printed by Gunther Sander, 1960s
The MFAH, gift of John S. and Nancy Nolan Parsley in honour of the 65th birthday of Anne Wilkes Tucker
© Die Photographische Sammlung/SK StiftungKultur – August Sander Archiv, Cologne; DACS, London 2012



Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
1001 Bissonnet Street
Houston, TX 77005

Opening hours:
Wednesday 11am – 5pm
Thursday 11am – 9pm
Friday 11am – 6pm
Saturday 11am – 6pm
Sunday 12.30pm – 6pm
Closed Monday and Tuesday, except Monday holidays
Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston website


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Exhibition: ‘nude men: from 1800 to the present day’ at the Leopold Museum, Vienna

Exhibition dates: 19th October 2012 – 4th March 2013

Curators: Tobias G. Natter and Elisabeth Leopold



Martin Ferdinand Quadal. 'Nude Life Class at the Vienna Art Academy in the St.-Anna-Gebäude' 1787


Martin Ferdinand Quadal (Moravian-Austrian, 1736-1811)
Nude Life Class at the Vienna Art Academy in the St.-Anna-Gebäude
© Paintings Gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna


Joseph-Désiré Court (French, 1797-1865) 'Death of Hippolytus' 1825


Joseph-Désiré Court (French, 1797-1865)
Death of Hippolytus
© Musée Fabre de Montpellier Agglomération


François-Léon Benouville. 'Achills Zorn' 1847


François-Léon Benouville (French, 1821-1859)
Achills Zorn
© Musée Fabre de Montpellier



“When we stop and think about it, we all are naked underneath our clothes.”

(Heinrich Heine, Travel Pictures, 1826)



A great posting. I used to have a print of Querelle by Andy Warhol on my wall when I was at university in London aged 17 years old – that and We Two Boys Together Clinging by David Hockney. My favourite in this posting is the painting Seated Youth (morning) by Austrian expressionist painter Anton Kolig. Such vivacity, life and colour, perhaps a post-coital glow (was he straight, bisexual, gay? who cares, it is a magnificent painting). There is very little information on Kolig on the web. Upon recommendation by Gustav Klimt and Carl Moll Kolig received a 1912 scholarship for a stay in Paris, where Kolig studied modern painting at the Louvre. He enlisted in the First World War in 1916 and survived, continuing to work in paint, tapestries and mosaic during the postwar years and the 1920s. He received two offers for professorships in Prague and Stuttgart, he opted for the Württemberg Academy in Stuttgart, where he trained a number of important painters later. In addition, his work was also shown internationally at numerous exhibitions. He was persecuted by the Nazis and his art destroyed because it was thought to be “degenerate” art. Kolig, which was essentially apolitical, remained until the fall of 1943 in Stuttgart, where he felt less and less well, however, and eventually returned to Nötsch. On 17 December 1944 Kolig was buried with his family in a bomb attack and seriously injured. Much of his work was destroyed here. He died in 1950.

For more information on the male body in photographic history please see the chapter “Historical Pressings” from my PhD research Sex, Body Image and the Gay Male (2001). The chapter examines the history of photographic images of the muscular male body from the Victorian to contemporary era. The pages are not a fully comprehensive guide to the history and context of this complex field, but may offer some insight into its development.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

Many thankx for the Leopold Museum, Vienna for allowing me to publish the text and photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.


Anonymous maker. 'Anonymous Youth of Magdalensberg' 16th Century casting after Roman Original


Anonymous maker
Anonymous Youth of Magdalensberg
16th Century casting after Roman Original
© Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Antiquities


Anonymous maker. 'Anonymous standing figure of the court official Snofrunefer Egypt, Old Kingdom, late 5th Dynasty' around 2400 BC


Anonymous maker
Anonymous standing figure of the court official Snofrunefer
Egypt, Old Kingdom, late 5th Dynasty, around 2400 BC
© Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna with MVK and ÖTM, Egyptian and Near Eastern Collection


Auguste Rodin. 'The Age of Bronze' 1875-76


Auguste Rodin (French, 1840-1917)
The Age of Bronze
© Kunsthaus Zurich


Anton Kolig. 'Seated Youth (morning)' 1919


Anton Kolig (Austrian, 1886-1950)
Seated Youth (morning)
© Leopold Museum, Wien, Inv. 406



Previous exhibitions on the theme of nudity have mostly been limited to female nudes. With the presentation “naked men” in the autumn of 2012 the Leopold Museum will be showing a long overdue exhibition on the diverse and changing depictions of naked men from 1800 to the present.

Thanks to loans from all over Europe, the exhibition “naked men” will offer an unprecedented overview of the depiction of male nudes. Starting with the period of Enlightenment in the 18th century, the presentation will focus mainly on the time around 1800, on tendencies of Salon Art, as well as on art around 1900 and after 1945. At the same time, the exhibition will also feature important reference works from ancient Egypt, examples of Greek vase painting and works from the Renaissance. Spanning two centuries, the presentation will show different artistic approaches to the subject, competing ideas of the ideal male model as well as changes in the concept of beauty, body image and values.

The exhibition, curated by Tobias G. Natter and Elisabeth Leopold, traces this theme over a long period and draws a continuous arc from the late 18th century to the present. Altogether, the showing brings together around 300 individual works by nearly 100 female and male artists from Europe and the USA. The objective of the two curators Tobias G. Natter and Elisabeth Leopold was “to clearly show the differing artistic approaches, competing models of masculinity, the transformation of ideas about the body, beauty and values, the political dimension of the body, and last but not least the breaking of conventions.”

“Over the past few years, portrayals of nude males have achieved a hitherto unseen public presence,” says Elisabeth Leopold. To which Tobias G. Natter adds, “At the same time, this exhibition is our way of reacting to the fact that categories which had previously seemed established, such as ‘masculinity’, ‘body’ and ‘nakedness’, have today become unstable for a broad swath of society.”


Diversity and abundance: showing for what “nude men” could stand

Elisabeth Leopold remarks that, “In the run-up to our project, we were very surprised to note that some commentators expected a ‘delicate’ exhibition. But in fact, we had no intention of treating the theme in such a way – with reserve, with tact, or in any other way delicately. And we did not understand this topic to be at all delicate in terms of an exhibition on art history somehow requiring a degree of discretion.” A project like nude men would be entirely unthinkable without the experiences and impulses of feminist art as well as cultural history, cultural studies and gender studies. With the exhibition nude men, the Leopold Museum seeks to react to the circumstance that societal categories commonly thought to be firmly established – such as “masculinity”, “body” and “nakedness” – are currently undergoing major changes.

By seizing on these developments, we understand the museum to be an institution which is relevant to today’s society – that is to say, a place for both the present and the future. Tobias G. Natter: “Our objective is to show the diversity and transformation of the portrayal of nude men in light of clearly defined thematic focuses. With fresh curiosity, without traditional scholarly prejudices, and with fascination for an inexhaustibly rich field, we use this exhibition to draw an arc spanning over 200 years which, not least, make a theme of the long shadow cast by the fig leaf.”


The exhibition

The exhibition traces its theme from the late 18th century to the present day. It has three key historical themes: the classical era and the Age of Enlightenment around 1800, classical modernism around 1900, and post-1945 art. These three themes are introduced by a prologue.



The exhibition’s three focuses are preceded by a prologue. Using five outstanding sculptures from European art history, the prologue illuminates this theme’s long tradition. It runs from the “oldest nude in town” – a larger-than-life freestanding figure from ancient Egypt – and the statue known as the Jüngling vom Magdalensberg to Auguste Rodin and Fritz Wotruba, and on to a display window mannequin which Heimo Zobernig reworked to create a nude self-portrait.

Tobias G. Natter: “The curatorial intention behind prologue was to have the audience stroll through nearly five millennia of Western sculptural art in just a few steps. This is meant both to communicate both the long tradition of such images and to highlight the degree to which nude men were taken for granted to be the foundation of our art. These five thousand years form the exhibition’s outer referential frame. Strictly speaking, the showing begins in earnest with the Age of Enlightenment and the period around 1800.”


Three out of five characters from the Prologue "naked men"


Three out of five characters from the Prologue “naked men”

Anonymous maker
Freestanding figure of the court official Snofrunefer
c. 2400 B.C.
© Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Auguste Rodin (French, 1840-1917)
The Age of Bronze
© Kunsthaus Zürich

Heimo Zobernig (Austrian, b. Austrian)
© VBK, Vienna, 2012


Paul Cézanne. 'Seven Bathers' c. 1900


Paul Cézanne (French, 1839-1906)
Seven Bathers
c. 1900
Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel


Edvard Munch. 'Bathing Men' 1915


Edvard Munch (Norwegian, 1863-1944)
Bathing Men
Munch Museum, Oslo
© The Munch Museum/The Munch Ellingsen Group/VBK, Vienna 2012


Wilhelm von Gloeden. 'Flute Concert' 1905


Wilhelm von Gloeden (German, 1856-1931)
Flute Concert
Verlag Adolph Engel, private collection


Richard Gerstl. 'Nude Self-portrait with Palette' 1908


Richard Gerstl (Austrian, 1883-1908)
Nude Self-portrait with Palette
© Leopold Museum, Wien


Egon Schiele. '“Prediger” (Selbstakt mit blaugrünem Hemd) ["Preacher" (Nude with teal shirt)]' 1913


Egon Schiele (Austrian, 1890-1918)
‘”Prediger” (Selbstakt mit blaugrünem Hemd)’ [“Preacher” (Nude with teal shirt)]
© Leopold Museum, Wien, Inv. 2365



Theme 1: Classicism and the Power of Reason

In the 18th century and beginning in France, the emancipation of the bourgeois class and the swan song of the Ancien Régime occasioned a renegotiation of concepts of masculinity with both societal and aesthetic implications. The naked male hero was defined anew as a cultural pattern. It became the embodiment of the new ideals.


Theme 2: Classical Modernism

A new and independent pictorial world arose in the late 19th century with the casual depiction of naked men bathing in natural, outdoor settings. The various ways in which artists dealt with this topic can be viewed together as a particularly sensitive gauge of societal moods. In the exhibition, the genre is represented with prominent examples by Paul Cézanne, Edvard Munch, Wilhelm von Gloeden, Max Liebermann, Ernst Ludwig

Kirchner and others. Classical modernism’s quest for a new artistic foundation also had its impact on the topics of nakedness and masculinity. But what happened when the painter’s gaze wandered on from the naked other to the naked self? A principle witness with regard to this phenomenon in turn-of-the-20th-century Vienna is Egon Schiele. With his taboo-breaking self-reflections, he radicalised artists’ self-understanding in a way that nobody had before him. Elisabeth Leopold: “The shift of the painter’s gaze from the naked opposite to the exposed self gave rise to the nude self-portrait – a shining beacon of modernism.”


Theme 3: Post-1945 Developments

In light of the abundance of interesting works from which to choose, the exhibition’s third theme comprises three specific focuses. Common to all three is the way in which the political potential of the naked body is explored. The first of these focuses concentrates on the battle fought by women for legal and social equality during the 20th century.

Outstanding examples of the intense way in which feminist artists have dealt with their own bodies as foils for the projection of gender roles can be found in the output of Maria Lassnig and Louise Bourgeois, whose works are included in the exhibition alongside others by younger woman artists. It was pioneers such as Lassnig and Bourgeois who set in motion the process which, today, underlies feminist art’s steadily increasing presence in terms of interpretation, resources, norms, power, and participation in the art business. The second area introduces artistic works that interlock nude self-portraits and the culture of protest, which bears great similarities to feminist criticism – the naked self between normativity and revolt.

The one issue is the nude self-portrait as a field for experimentation and a phenomenon which questions artistic and societal identities. The other issue has to do with substantive contributions to the gender debate, as well as with artists who take the crisis of obsolete male images as an opportunity to put forth self-defined identities. The third focus, finally, lies in the shift in roles in which the man goes from being the subject to being the object, in fact becoming an erotically charged object – perhaps one of the most fundamental shifts in terms of the forms via which nude men have been portrayed from 1800 to the present. Gay emancipation, in particular, served to radically cast doubt upon normative concepts of masculinity, which it opposed with its own alternative models. In this exhibition, these are represented above all in paintings that feature intimate closeness and male couples.

As the opening of this exhibition neared, a frequently-asked question was that of why the project is being undertaken. Tobias G. Natter’s response: “There are many reasons. But most importantly: because it is overdue.”

Press release from the Leopold Museum website


Bruce Nauman. 'Untitled (Five Marching Men)' 1985


Bruce Nauman (American, b. 1941)
Untitled (Five Marching Men)
© Friedrich Christian Flick Collection / VBK Wien 2012


Gilbert & George. 'Spit Law' 1997


Gilbert & George (Gilbert Prousch, British born Italy 1943 and George Passmore, British b. 1942)
Spit Law
© Courtesy Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris / Salzburg


Elmgreen & Dragset. 'Shepherd Boy (Tank Top)' 2009


Elmgreen & Dragset (Michael Elmgreen born 1961; Copenhagen, Denmark and Ingar Dragset born 1969; Trondheim, Norway)
Shepherd Boy (Tank Top)
Courtesy Galleri Nicolai Wallner
© Courtesy Galleri Nocolai Wallner / VBK Wien 2012


Thomas Ruff. 'nudes vg 02' 2000


Thomas Ruff (German, b. 1958)
“nudes vg 02”
Ed. 3/5
© Private collection Cofalka, Austria/with the kind support of agpro – austrian gay professionals
© VBK, Wien 2012


Jean Cocteau. 'Male Couple Illustration for Jean Genet’s 'Querelle de Brest'' 1947


Jean Cocteau (French, 1889-1963)
Male Couple
Illustration for Jean Genet’s ‘Querelle de Brest’

© Private collection © VBK, Wien 2012


Louise Bourgeois. 'Fillette (Sweeter Version)' 1968, cast 1999


Louise Bourgeois (French, 1911-2010)
Fillette (Sweeter Version)
1968, cast 1999
© Ursula Hauser Collection, Switzerland © VBK, Wien 2012


Pierre & Gilles. 'Vive la France [Long live France]' 2006


Pierre & Gilles (Pierre Commoy and Gilles Blanchard)
Vive la France [Long live France]
© Private collection, Courtesy Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont, Paris


Andy Warhol. 'Querelle' c. 1982


Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987)
c. 1982
© Privatsammlung/ VBK, Wien 2012



Leopold Museum
Museums Quartier, Museumsplatz 1
1070 Vienna, Austria

Opening hours:
Wednesday – Sunday 10am – 6pm

Leopolod Museum website


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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, an art and cultural memory archive, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

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