和田三造 WADA Sanzō (1883-1967)
「南風」 South Wind (1907)
東京国立近代美術館 The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo
油彩・キャンバス・Oil on canvas
151.5 × 182.4cm
和田三造 WADA Sanzō (1883-1967)
Lovers in a Landscape, Iran
Paeans to homoerotic love appear all throughout medieval Persian literature, giving the nation a long and rich history of homoerotic desire, much unlike what the current regime in Iran would have one believe.
Photo via todemandlove
This poster shows one of Riga’s most famous public monuments, the statue of Lenin’s riflemen. The monument is controversial since it commemorates a group of soldiers who fought on the side of the Bolsheviks, tried to establish Soviet rule in Latvia, and eventually became Lenin’s personal bodyguards. Today, some Latvians think the monument should be removed because of its Soviet links, but some think it should stay. Ironically, the Museum of the Occupation of Riga, which documents Nazi and Soviet wrongdoings in Latvia, is right next door.
The reason I like it so much is the homosocial, perhaps even homoerotic quality of the strong, tall, powerful, bold men standing together in camaraderie—qualities so often repeated in Soviet propaganda. When I visited Riga last year, I was surprisingly touched by this statue and spent quite a while looking at it.
Here is another photo from Flickr, taken in 2006 by Swishphotos.
Rockwell KENT (1882-1971): Starlight (Wood engraving)
The American artist, printmaker, illustrator, and writer Rockwell Kent produced some of the most dramatic illustrations of the early twentieth century, helping to feed the interest in Art Deco that characterized the arts of the 1920s and 1930s. One finds in these works, a strong appreciation of the beauty of the heroic, male form, and the sorts of strong, powerful images of the working class that one sees in the murals of the Depression era. In the late 1930s, he became involved with leftist politics, joining the International Worker’s Order, a Communist organization. His work earned significant attention in the USSR, and in 1967, he was given the Lenin Peace Prize. For more about his life and career, see the article about him on Wikipedia.
I first encountered his work in an illustrated copy of Melville’s Moby Dick that I bought for a dollar at a library book sale when I was a little boy. I read the strange tale of obsession with great interest, largely because his amazingly dramatic, graphic illustrations brought the strange sea world of the novel to life with a vividness that my landlocked grade-school imagination could not. Now, as an adult, I see in these illustrations the celebration of the lives of the proletarian seamen, struggling to achieve something far beyond the realm of ordinary experience.