Pictures of Hot Boys Can Make Fine Art, Too!

By Jude Jones.

Beautiful male muscle made kaleidoscopic dreamscape, colours both fleshy and fantastic flurrying in erotic palimpsest.

(From left to right) Timothy Harland, “Dan Jalba Armpit Vineyard Vienna (on brown mythic toile), 2013; “Arnaud Cizergues Trees North Captiva (on red mythic toile), 2013; “Arnaud Cizergues Captiva Island Dreaming”, 2014.

Such is the impression left by the Impressionist portraits of Timothy Hailand. The American photographer became a multimedia aficionado after a working residency at Claude Monet’s former home in Giverny, France. There, he found inspiration in the painter’s toile de Jouy wallpaper, alive with landscapes and moments-in-miniature. Overlaying the two – brash photographs of unclothed, gladiator-bodied models to gentle pastoral and patterned toiles sourced from around the world – Hailand creates something sensual and new: human skin made into fabric, lace turned into tattoo.

Such curated eclecticism feels perfectly at home in BOYS! BOYS! BOYS! Volume 8, the latest edition of French curator and art collector Ghislain Pascal’s cult magazine dedicated, well, to boys, boys, boys…

The biannual magazine is the in-print child of BOYS! BOYS! BOYS!, a programme launched in 2018 by London’s prestigious The Little Black Gallery, co-founded by Pascal and Tamara Beckwith Veroni in 2008. The programme had a simple aim: promoting queer and gay fine art photography, so often cast aside institutionally as provocative for provocation’s sake, nymphomaniacally sexual when “fine art” need not be.

But BOYS! BOYS! BOYS!, Pascal’s pet project turned art world heavy-hitter, offers a different perspective. Photographs like Hailand’s, to be featured in the upcoming edition, show the tasteful intersections of the male nude and high art, while almost surreal portraiture provided by Kenya’s Turkan and India’s Judhajit Bagchi and Ranadeep Bhattarcharyya show the political importance of Pascal’s curation, shining a camera lens on those corners of the world where queer rights still are not fully protected and queer lives remain under constant threat. This is more than just hedonism, despite the sustained indebtment to a hedonistic and voyeuristic aesthetic.

Alongside the latest edition of the magazine – which also includes work from Tristan Dubois (Belgium), Alejo Dillar (Argentina), Juan Antonio Papagni Meca (Argentina), Matt Gold (USA), and Sean Patrick Watters (USA), and a feature interview with New York gallerist Brian Paul Clamp – BOYS! BOYS! BOYS! are releasing a zine curated by Tyler Udall, the former senior fashion editor at DAZED and AnOther who switched career paths in the 2010s to plunge first-hand into the world of photography.

Photograph: Tyler Udall, “Shade Smoking,” 2010.

‘When I first started to exhibit my images,’ Udall recently told his former home at DAZED, ‘I was pretty blindsided to learn first-hand the blatant homophobic and patriarchal professional roadblocks I had to navigate.’

‘We are not interested in tokenism or sensationalism,’ Pascal added for GAY45, ‘We want to create a space where queer artists can express themselves freely and authentically, without fear of censorship or discrimination.’

BOYS! BOYS! BOYS! Volume 8 launches on June 10. $1 from the sale of each magazine will go to charities supporting the LGBTQ+ community and fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic. BOYS! BOYS! BOYS! Zine No.2 – Tyler Udall is available now. More about everything they do here.

Jude Jones is the Managing Editor of GAY45 and is an interdisciplinary journalist, currently completing an undergraduate degree in History & French at the University of Cambridge. Their writing – covering photography, nightlife, fashion, gallery reviews, interest pieces, and political comments – has also been published by Varsity, The Cambridge Language Collective, DISRUPTION, and the Cambridge Review of Books, among others. 

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