Nude Men

Nude Men is a current exhibition at the Leopold museum. It shows paintings and a few sculptures, mostly from the 18th century onwards, all featuring naked men.

There has been quite some outrage when the exhibition opened in Vienna. Because the poster that advertised it actually showed *gasp* naked men! Not doing anything sexual, not even remotely pornographic, just standing there.

Anyway, I figured I’d have to show my support for the sentiment at least and naked men often are a very nice thing, so off I went. Unfortunately the exhibition itself was a mess.

The texts describing the overarching themes for each room where an exercise in saying the least with the most-syllable words, instead of providing any sense of coherence. Plus there was this gem where they said, “because men are usually the active part during sex, their lust is hidden behind the woman’s passivity.” I mean, I can kinda guess what they were getting at but that’s really not what they said. [Also, right there in the “sex room” was a drawing by Alfred Kubin, called “The Cramp”, showing a guy in the midst of an epilleptic episode, with a woman sitting on his belly. Very sexy.]

There barely was any information about the pieces themselves. I’m guessing the audio guides would have provided more info, but without them all you got was title, year and artist and especially for the more modern artwork that just is not enough. But I found it especially disappointing in the case of Angelica Kauffman who was a female portraitist in the 18th century (they had one of her portraits in the exhibition) which is all kinds of awesome and extraordinary but it’s practically lost in the lack of info.

But even the chosen pieces themselves were just not very interesting, mostly. It was more like somebody did a catalogue search for “naked men” and then pulled 300 pieces pretty much at random.

But the actual death blow was the last bit in the exhibition by Katarzyna Kozyra. She dressed up as a man, smuggled a camera into a men’s only bath and filmed the men there – naked, without their knowledge or consent. And that is not cool or art, it’s just wrong. It shames me to think that people apparently don’t realize that.

Nevertheless there were some nice pieces and here are my favorites:

auguste-rodin--das-eherne-zeitalter[Auguste Rodin – The Age of Bronze]

Alfred-Courmes-Heiliger-Sebastian[Alfred Courmes – Saint Sebastian]

AntonKolig_Zeichnung[Anton Kolig – I’m actually not sure that this is the exact drawing that was featured but it’s close enough.]Klimt_1st_Secession_Exhibition_censoredKlimt_1st_Secession_Exhibition[Gustav Klimt – poster for the 1st exhibition at the Secession, censored and uncensored version]

Antonio_Canova-Theseus_and_the_Minotaur[Antonio Canova – Theseus and the Minotaur]

tomislav-gotovac-foxy-mister[Tomislav Gotovac – Foxy Mister (taken from here)]

otto-muehl_jesus-strikes-back-1984[Otto Mühl – Jesus Strikes Back]

wilhelmvongloeden_floetenkonzert[Wilhelm von Gloeden – Flute Concert]

Summarising: you can skip it.

2 thoughts on “Nude Men

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