Monday, September 7, 2009

Gay images of Jesus

I love these three images, two of which are based on the famous "Consolator" of Carl Bloch (centre). I don't know where the Marilyn Monroe piece comes from, but the gay iconic spoof is from Elizabeth Ohlson-Wallin's "Ecce Homo" series.
The thing about the two alternative takes on the "Consolator", is that they both make exactly the same point. They foreground, and explicitly sexualise the adoration aspect of the painting. I suppose, in the heterosexual version, one may want to update the sexual iconography a bit, by substituting the head and body of Megan Fox, for instance. The gay one speaks a particular iconographic language of a particular, but very recognisable sub-culture.
Now, how come only certain options are available? How come the vocabulary and grammar of religious iconography has been so completely hi-jacked and owned by heterosexual imagists? Naturally, it has to do with the power of the majority. But how come, when the church talks of "listening" to gay people and "dialogue" with us, that our language, our grammar, our vocabulary is not up for discussion?

1 comment:

  1. I love these images, too. I included the one by Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin in my book “Art That Dares: Gay Jesus, Woman Christ, and More,” where it is a favorite of many readers.

    When I interviewed Elisabeth for the book, she remembered the joy of taking that picture. She enlisted gays and lesbians from Stockholm’s leather clubs to recreate Carl Bloch’s famous painting. “It was fantastic to walk with ‘Jesus’ to the photo spot,” Ohlson Wallin recalled. “People were looking and a little shocked. The picture is taken on the hill in a famous cruising park in Stockholm.” It was the first photo taken in her wonderful Ecce Homo series.