Main image: Guy Yechiely
When thinking about gay men’s obvious qualities, the ability to fight ferociously is not the first thing that springs to mind. Growing up gay in a macho society requires a thick skin, and in fact, in oppose to how gay men are often depicted and perceived as ‘weak’, this thick skin is the sum of all of our fights, and as the saying goes: “practice makes perfect”.
In ancient times we know of gay men’s military brigades, like for instance The Sacred Band of Thebes in ancient Greece – an army of lovers who fought together on the front line. The idea behind it was that male love is the strongest bond, and this will make the soldiers stronger, and much more valiant. The heroism of this brigade echoes through for more than 2 millennia, in prose and praise, as they are known to liberate the city-state of Thebes from the clutches of the totalitarian Spartans, back into a Greek Democracy.
"A number of warriors were buried with arms linked; if you look closely, you can see that some were holding hands." Image Source
According to some sources, the Pre-Columbian Mexican Aztec empire practiced a social ritual of homosexuality in temples, though it was banned and punishable otherwise. Ritual gay sex was a part of religious festivities, as we learn from Xōchipilli - the flower prince god - patron of music, games, ecstatic dance, young men and holy prostitutes. This god, among others, was worshiped for good luck by the Aztecs’ most fearless warriors before going to battles.
There are more examples of homosexuality bound with war in the ancient world, like the sometimes-assumed queerness of the Viking god Odin – lord of war amongst his many traits. It is told he possesses the power of Seid – Norse magic regarded to mostly as a female trait.
In this day and age in Israel, gay men serve the military valiantly, and sacrifice their lives, and same-sex relationships carve through grief yet another step in their path to full acceptance and legitimacy in the Israeli society, which will hopefully result in equal rights eventually.
Homosexuality and male love in a military context are nothing new in the art world and were explored and represented in Israel with works by ground-breaking gay artists like Moshe Gershuni and Adi Nes. As a gay art gallery, some artists represented by Pan explore the issue of homosexuality in a military context in their artworks.
Adi Nes - Untitled
A Fine art print by photographer Guy Yechiely, from the soldier series, is a part of the Haifa Museum of Art permanent collection, and some were sold to one of the biggest private fine art collectors in Israel. Gay artist Ben Hantkant’s short film ‘War Room’ also addresses the tension between fragile masculinity, dissidence and obedience.
Some would argue (like known Israeli Queer theorist Amalia Ziv for example) that the mere act of homosexuality, especially in the Israeli military, is deconstructive to the image of the new Zionist Jew, and it counters the idea of the strong contemporary Israeli man, in oppose to the weak diaspora Jew.
In any case, homosexuality in the Israeli military is accepted, even in elite combat units, and, in oppose to past times when this could get one disqualified from certain positions, nowadays homosexuals are serving in all ranks, including highly sensitive intel, combat and support units.
In the realm of art, financial fluctuations have always played a significant role in shaping the industry. However, even amidst volatile times, the art business has demonstrated its resilience, as evidenced by recent record-breaking auctions and private sales. What's particularly remarkable is the surge in prices for artworks by gay artists, reflecting the growing recognition and appreciation of their contributions to the art world. In this blog post, we will delve into these developments, exploring how auction houses and private sales have defied financial uncertainties, and the exciting progress being made for gay artists in the market.
PHAG 7 - Gay-Eye - Celebrating Human Ingenuity: Why Our Online Gay Art Gallery Excludes AI-Generated Art
The new buzzword "AI" seems to be everywhere and it's getting hard to tell whether the content you are seeing is human or machine generated.
Art has long been a medium for expressing human emotions, experiences, and perspectives. In the digital age, the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) has introduced exciting possibilities for creative expression. However, our online gay art gallery remains dedicated exclusively to human-generated art. In this blog post, I delve into the reasons behind this decision and affirm the importance of human ingenuity and the role of gay art in social change.
Being this first gay art gallery in Israel we are not detached from current events, including protests against the criminal judicial reform, which would turn Israel into a dictatorship.
Gay art news by Pan gay art gallery based in Tel Aviv:
Blog Post January 2023
Newly featured gay artists
Pan Gay Art Docuseries Episode 1
"Open House" Sale Event - February
Gay Art about the Holocaust
Welcome back to PHAG blog dear Panzies – This is the 2nd post and I have so much exciting news to share: Newly listed gay art collections by American and Israeli artists, planned exhibitions, and a special secret gift for my readers.
I am proud to present the works of Eyal Tevet – a skilled artist and interior designer who lives with his partner and three daughters in the center of Israel. His male art in oil on wood panels was presented in a single exhibition in the Municipal Artist House of Tel Aviv, and we have the honor of offering 3 of them in a mini collection.
Another skilled artist who recently joined Pan is American male art photographer Mark Alan (The Male Muse), with experience of over 25 years in photographing gay men, in the USA and in Spain, where he resides today. His work is done in analog 35 mm black and white cameras and also Digital SLR cameras. He prints on a luster photo paper in Spain.
I was recently asked where does the line cross between art and male nude to actual adult-only content. When I gave the matter a bit of thought, I suddenly realized that it really is up to the essence of the piece that the artist is trying to convey. It is quite clear in today’s world, that people can be aroused by anything, and so, would artworks such as Robert Mapplethorpe’s be considered lude? Would Spencer Tunic’s?
I think that if the purpose of the piece is to arouse one sexually, and bring him or her to climax, it is then considered (in my eyes) less of a fine art piece. If the piece has sexual nudity in it, but the purpose of it is to convey an idea in aesthetic and artistic means – then I think one can try to rise above the explicit sexual content and relate to it as an artistic element, and to absorb the bigger picture.
Of-course all these views stand in direct relation to the culture one is surrounded by: What seems to be totally natural in the Scandinavian countries might be considered a total abomination in some parts of the US and Canada, and vise versa. We cannot display male nudity in certain areas in the world, regardless of whether its sexual content or not.
So to those of you who made it so far - you certainly deserve a loyalty reward and so - take 8% off with a special discount code. Valid until Halloween - October 31st 2022.Our next exhibit in Tel Aviv will be in early November - we cannot disclose the details yet - so stay tuned.
Thank you and if you have any questions or requests I am always happy to help!
Pan Homo Art Gallery owner & curator
Welcome to the first Pan Homo Art Gallery (PHAG) blog post!
Curator Erez Bialer begins with the most basic questions, and continues on to show examples of gay fine art that changed the world, while discussing gay artworks featured here in this gallery.