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Digital Subscriptions > DNA Magazine > # 193 - Underwear > Private Exhibition

Private Exhibition

A century ago, gay artists depicted homoeroticism implicitly, thereby averting damnation, jailtime and scandal. Their male subjects are sexless and innocent, but much more can be read between the brushstrokes, writes Dick Burns.

IN 2014, The National Gallery Of Victoria presented an exhibition of the explicit art of Australian pop artist David McDiarmid with all its cocks, arseholes and rainbow AIDS-awareness posters. In the same year, Bendigo Art Gallery featured a collection of ancient Greek and Roman artefacts from the British Museum. The main feature was the museum’s glorious marble discus thrower, but some pieces of Greek pottery had paintings of sex, one of which showed two young men about to fuck. In 2009, the London National Portrait Gallery mounted an exhibition called Gay Icons in which ten eminent gay men and women named the icons who most influenced their gay sensibility. One hundred years ago, English-speaking gay artists may have achieved great recognition through their works and enjoyed success, but there was no public acknowlegement of the sexuality inherent in their work. Erotic implications were carefully directed, with any sexual suggestiveness supressed. They would be amazed at the degree of acceptance and freedom of expression that artists enjoy today. For the knowing viewer, however, the coded images suggested a great deal going between the brush strokes.

Eakins’ The Swimming Hole is a masterpiece in homoerotic art.

The painter most frequently cited as representing the late-Victorian to World War I period is American Thomas Eakins (1844-1916). Typical of US artists, he painted realistic scenes of everyday life. Little is known of his personal sexual inclination but one biographer, William McFeeley, notes that during his stint in Paris, all his friends were homosexual, and the married Eakins was once slandered, accused of having an affair with a male student. McFeeley speculates that Eakins may have preferred the romantic company of men, but that he little acted upon this, and instead used his art as a silent cry for a more perfect world.

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About DNA Magazine

DNA #193 features and exclusive interview with model Nyle Dimarco. Photographed by the talented Christian Scott during his recent trip down under the deaf ‘America’s Next Top Model’ winner explains his “fluid” sexual attractions. For those who like to spice things up in their underwear draw, you can’t miss our in-depth look at rise in popularity of mens lace, satin, silk and frilled underwear. Meet the Australian All-Male, All-Vaudeville and All-Trash boylesque circus tour troupe ’Briefs: The Second Coming’. As our journalist Jesse Archer sits down for a chat with the men who heating up the stage. For our cultured readers, you can’t go past our look at homoerotica in the arts over the ages. Combining culture with DNA’s much loved bugles and ass we take a look at the phenomenon #readnaked that encourages gay men to discover books by gay authors. It’s all class with ass. On the other side of the coin, we visit the new documentary that takes a look at Chemsex and it’s culture within the gay scene. As for hot guys in this months DNA. We also get up close and personal with the delicious model Diego Sochi in some of the latest underwear fashion and model Aleksander Dorokhov is everything seductive in the exclusive photo series from photographer Stanly Vo. Meet straight mate Tim Phillips, Dear Diva answers some interesting questions about jealousy in relationships, we read up on celebrity fan boy and author Matthew Rettemund and check out the new music of singer John Grant.