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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » June 17, 2010
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History of Homoerotic Art Laid Bare
June 17, 2010   
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The Ars Homo Erotica exhibition, which has sparked controversy over the past few months because of its focus on homoeroticism, opens at the National Museum in Warsaw on June 11. The exhibition aims to explore the subject of homoeroticism in Polish, Central European and European visual culture.

This will be the first exhibition in Polish history to deal with the traditions and issues of homoerotic art. At the same time, the exhibition is meant to contribute to the ongoing debate in Europe on the place of sexual minorities in social life.

The exhibition has been conceived as a multimedia project and is intended to take an alternative look at the history of European culture and the museum collection. The exhibits come from the collections of the National Museum in Warsaw together with works by specially invited artists from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Croatia, Romania, Poland, Russia, Germany and the United States.

The exhibition comprises around 250 works divided into nine sections ranging from antiquity to the present and includes Greek vases with depictions of young people playing, male nudes in sculptural and painting masterpieces, and contemporary gay and lesbian artworks.

Work associated with socio-political conflicts surrounding gay and lesbian rights in Central and Eastern European countries will be presented in the section entitled “Time of Struggle.”

Homoeroticism can be discerned in the classical sculptures in the “Homoerotic Classicism” section. “The Male Nude” is the title of the third part of the exhibition. Sculptures, paintings and drawings depicting mythological heroes will be on display in the following sections, “Male Couples” and “Ganymede.” The sixth part of the exhibition will be dedicated to the most popular Christian iconographic subject associated with homoerotic art, St. Sebastian. Paintings by the contemporary artists Karol Radziszewski, Krzysztof Jung and Stasys Eidrigevicius will be juxtaposed with works from the National Museum collection.

In the “Lesbian Imaginarium” section, historical and mythological themes associated with lesbian motifs, such as Sappho, Diana and the Nymphs in ancient works of art, will enter into a cultural dialog with latterday photography and video art by Catherine Opie and Anna Daucikova. Nineteenth-century portrayals of female friendship and erotic scenes in the style of Courbet, as well as examples of contemporary young lesbian artworks from Central and Eastern Europe, will also be on display. There will also be works connected with transgender/androgyny themes in both ancient mythology and modern performance art.

The ninth and last section, entitled “Archive,” includes posters from the Wilanów Poster Museum advertising films and theatrical works by gay artists.

June 11 to Sept. 5
3 Jerozolimskie Ave.,tel. + 48 22 621 10 31
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