Artist Spotlight: Best of Art, 2013

By Christopher Harrity

Originally published on Advocate.com December 21 2013 5:00 AM ET

Above: After the Battle, 1914

Artist Spotlight: Alexander Deineka
These strapping lads were the Russian physical ideal. Deineka's provocative male nudes conflict with Russia's contemporary antigay views.

The Sculptor, 1964. Perhaps the most revelatory of Koch's self-portraits. It almost dares you to make a conclusion. From the stance of the model, to the gesture of the cigarette, intimacy steams from the canvas. Then there is the detail (see below) of the posing strap string, delicately resting on the upper curve of the model's buttocks. And what about the calipers?

For more: John Koch
Koch's society paintings grow more charming as time passes, but his paintings of handsome nudes reveal a more intriguing point of view.

Above: Tom of Finland, Untitled (From Beach Boy 1 story), 1971 Pen & ink, gouache on paper 8.25” x 5.75”
COQ International Collection, Tom of Finland Foundation Permanent Collection © 1971 Tom of Finland Foundation

For more: Tom of Finland
The work of Tom of Finland and Bob Mizer set the dials of fantasy for multiple generations of gay men (and some women) since the middle of the last century.

Walter Baumhofer
Cowboys, pirates, ripped shirts, and bondage. It's a small wonder that Baumhofer's illustrations for pulp magazines ignited the fantasies of a generation of gay men.

Above: Avalanche Lake, 2012

For more: Cobi Moules
Moules's exhibit "Bois Just Wanna Have Fun" combines epic scenery and young male rambunctiousness in self-portrait multiples.

Above: John Gutoskey, Queer Pop, 2012

For more: 'Round Hole, Square Peg'
A diverse selection of artists redefine a queer aesthetic for the 21st century.

Above: The open-air bath house

For more: Eugene Jansson
The sense of freedom Swedish artist Eugene Jansson must have felt when he turned from blue landscapes to nude male gymnasts and sailors pulsates in his artwork.

Above: Harry Bush's hitchhikers

For more: Inventing the California Boy
These mid-20th-century photographers and artists created utopian images of young California men that formed an ideal.

Above: Proud Mary, 2007, oil on canvas, 24 x 20 inches

For more: Ryan Martin
After recovering from the hallucinatory explosion of color, the complex narrative of Martin's images keeps us engaged.

Above: The Enchanted Valley, 1925

For more: Ralph Chubb
Chubb's Uranian poetry and art led him to establish his own press to avoid censorship.

For more: Paul Jacoulet
Jacoulet was a rare Western artist mastering the art of woodblock printing sufficiently to be recognized in Japan. He was also barred from entering the U.S. due to his “undesirability” as a gay man.

Above: Physique Pictorial, Vol. 1, No. 2. with a cover illustration by George Quaintance. ONE Archives at the USC Libraries

For more: Art & Physique Circa Bob & Tom
Exploring the social and historical context surrounding erotic art and physique photography during the 1940s, '50s, and '60s.

Above: Paradise, Butch McLogic

For more: Capolavoro di Uomo: Masterpiece of Man
In a new lavish book, Capolavoro di Uomo: Masterpiece of Man, we see undeniable gay visibility — and eros.

Above: Parvenu (The Historical Rise of the Art Jock), 2011, oil on canvas, 36x48"

For more: Kris Knight
Knight's fantasy portraits of androgynous youth are haunted and sensuous.

Above: Michael Kirwan, Making Things Uncomfortable, watercolor, markers, pen on paper

For more: Bent-Con's Geekiest Gay Art
Bent-Con's exhibition of work celebrates LGBT contributions in pop culture, sci-fi, horror, comics, fantasy, gaming, and geekdom.

Above: Untitled (Garet), 2012, oil on canvas, 14" x 11"

For more: Christopher Sousa
More like still lifes than figure studies, Sousa's lads have an Edwardian tilt to their top hats.

Above: Twilight (Sailors hitchhiking)

For more: Emlen Etting
Philadelphia Main Line society artist Emlen Etting was happily married, but he sure painted a lot of sailors.

Above: Two Boys, 1915

For more: Hans Thoma
Was Thoma gay? How many fauns, satyrs, and lonely naked guys on the beach can you depict before your own art outs you?

Above: Duncan Grant mural, West Wall (detail), St Blaise Chapel, Lincoln Cathedral, Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England

For more: Public Art, Private Expression
Why do so many public murals seem to have a homoerotic tone?

Above: Alex, Back

For more: José Manuel Hortelano-Pi
Hortelano-Pi brings his earthy, human touch to ceramics, video, and social media.

Above: Hypnose, 1904

For more: Sascha Schneider
Schneider's risky homoerotic artwork enjoyed great popularity in Germany. Then the political climate changed.

Above: The Faun, 1914

For more: Magnus Enckell
This Finnish artist's work leaned to the symbolic and the spiritual, and was surprisingly erotic for the time.

For more: Ephraim Moses Lilien
Perhaps only accidentally homoerotic, Lilien's pursuit of a handsome Jewish ideal manifested in beautiful art nouveau drawings of men.