Antebellum gallery, the only fetish art gallery in America, is proud to present the first exhibition of
JOHN PALATINUS: TOMORROW’S MAN
In the early part of the 20th century the only photographs of men's bodies were the famous Eadweard Mubridge studies of men in motion, bare knuckled prize fighters and the advertisements of Charles Atlas, an early advocate of men's fitness.
During the late Forties and early Fifties a group of mostly gay men began doing "artistic studies" of bodybuilders with carefully concealed genitalia, or in posing straps. Among these pioneers were Lon of New York, Bruce of Los Angeles, Bob Mizer of Athletic Model Guild, Mel Roberts of California, and John Palatinus of New York.
At this time a series of new publications emerged: Tomorrows Man, Vim, Manuel, Physique Pictorial and others celebrating the male physique. Through these magazines homoerotic works were seen nation wide. In many cases for the first time. In compensation the photographers were given free advertisements to sell their work.
Many did a brisk business as these photos were considered "hot stuff" in this era.
All this was happening during the Eisenhower administration, a very repressive time for gay people in America. Bars were raided and closed on a regular basis. Those arrested had their names published in the local papers, completely ruining their lives. Witch-hunts were conducted in the State Department to find gay diplomats. McCarthyism was in full bloom.
The Post office had it's own agenda, stamping out so called pornography through the mail. All of the physique photographers were harassed. Some had their studios raided and were put out of business among them- John Palatinus of New York.
Now more than 50 years after the fact most of these early pioneering physique photographers are long gone, and their work forgotten.
Today physique photography is finally getting its props. There are many young collectors who have sparked a new interest in these early works. The internet has played a major role in this revival. Old collections of photographs and magazines have been pulled out of attics and are now disseminated all over the world.
Today’s fashion photographers are using vintage physique photographs as inspiration for shoots they do for campaigns. Men’s fashion magazines create editorial features of men's underwear posed in a Fifties physique look.
Photographers of this era like Rick Castro, Greg Day, Matthias Herrmann and Jay Jorgensen are keepers of the flame. Other artists like Nick Burger and John Palatinus are finally having their work presented.
Antebellum gallery is proud to present the first ever exhibition of John Palatinus and some of his peers from the past, present and future.
Welcome TOMORROW’S MAN!
Opening reception- February 14th, Valentine’s Day, 2010.
Live models on display!
John Palatinus – in person!