Re: Gregory Markopoulos and queer aesthetics

From: Chuck Kleinhans (email suppressed)
Date: Mon Nov 30 2009 - 15:53:35 PST

There's a rather long history of the braiding together of gay male
sexuality and an interest in classical Greek art. You might take a
look at Tom Waugh's book Hard to Imagine, on pre-Stonewall gay male
photos and films, which has several chapters covering this area. His
footnotes and references could take you much farther afield.

Rather than pursuing the theme of outsider, rebel, or social reject,
a distinct part of gay male culture in the past found inspiration in
the already highly regarded and well sanctioned art of the past with
ancient Greece a high point of socially accepted male bonding in both
intellectual and physical ways.

Of course Markopoulos had an interest in Greece from his personal
history. Letters he wrote to Theodore Huff in the 1940s and early
1950s, as he was getting started making films, make clear his
commitment to Greek myth and art especially within the frame of an
elevated concept of High Art. (These are in the Huff papers at the
George Eastman House library in Rochester.) It's hard for me to
imagine (but I'm no Markopoulos expert) that he was ever as a person
or artist interested in or even tolerant of the deliberate lowbrow
and vulgar stance of most Camp (e.g. Jack Smith), or even the High
Camp of say Oscar Wilde, etc.

Chuck Kleinhans

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