Sh(OUT): Contemporary Art and Human Rights/Drawn Out & Painted Pink
Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, until Sun 1 Nov
While each work in GoMA’s striking and thoughtful social justice-related exhibition for 2009 can easily be traced back to a gender-related starting point, more universal ideals of love and tenderness are writ large throughout. They’re particularly apparent in pieces such as Sadie Lee’s large oil study of ‘The Actresses’, old and cuddled close and semi-naked in bed, and Patricia Cronin’s cemetary monument of the artist and her lover Deborah Kass (whose ‘Orange Deb’ is also exhibited here).
Yet, love is one of two defining themes, the other being a fascination with the human body. Ins A Kromminga’s series of murals and drawings ‘Herm Pride’, for example, is both playful and graphic, juxtaposing Darth Vader in a bra with mid-op ‘medical porno’. Del La Grace Volcano’s ‘Herm Torso’ goes further, boldly photographing mid he-to-she transfer. Chad McCail’s ‘Spring Tree’, a papier maché tree discretely growing eyes, brains and a penis, implicitly asserts that all that occurs in nature is natural.
Elsewhere, the juxtaposition of David Hockney’s sweet but controversial at the time ‘We Two Boys Clinging Together’ (1961) and Robert Mapplethorpe’s highly graphic urinary fantasy ‘Jim and Robert, Sausolito’ (1977) shows how much society has moved on in the interim.
Drawn Out and Painted Pink, a display of 50 queer-themed cartoons by Kate Charlesworth and David Shenton, offers a less intensive and more light-hearted exploration of similar themes. Among those poked fun at and pilloried are possibly-gay double acts from history, WLTM ads specifying ‘straight-acting’ attributes and closeted prudes, alongside more bittersweet satires about attitudes to HIV.