Bravo! I would like to extend my gratitude for your support of the Orlando artist's community. Your follow up commentary of Adam Nehr's current Orlando Museum of Art exhibit was greatly needed `"Happytown," Dec. 8`. Publishing one of his omitted works, "Fairy Dust," was a bold stroke against the area's puritanical tendencies.
Being a local gay artist myself, I can appreciate the fear of having your work censored and sanitized for public consumption. That being said, I have decided to take a proactive approach to my current aggravation on this issue. I will be coordinating a "members" only, one-night art event and am currently sending out a call to artists. All submitted work will feature full-frontal male nudity. I anticipate a range of work from classical portraiture to tribal symbols of male energy.
I would appreciate any support you can offer. It should be the best-hung show Orlando has ever seen. Please forward any inquiries to VirgilArts@yahoo.com. Keep up the excellent work. I rely on your publication to always stay abreast of what's really happening in Orlando.
Jimmi Virgil Rice, Orlando
In your Dec. 8 issue, there is a supposedly art nude male with full-frontal exposure. This was of poor taste and unnecessary. Please avoid this in the future, art or non-art.
Strother Bracey, Orlando
Shot the naked guy
I want to take this opportunity to thank you for helping to un-do the unfortunate editorial decision the Orlando Museum of Art was forced to make regarding my art `"Happytown," Dec. 8`. It made me proud to be a part of the show at OMA featuring my project "Issues and Icons," and even more proud to see the Orlando Weekly pick up where the OMA left off. I am sure the Weekly will take heat for this courage.
For centuries people have tried to force the Pope to plaster over the images of male genitalia on the Sistine chapel ceiling for the same reasons that they give the OMA a load of grief every time they show such things on their walls. A couple of times Michelangelo's art was desecrated in the desired manner only to be quickly uncovered by more enlightened Christians. I suppose the Italian contingent of the fig leaf society and the Orlando chapter have the same thing in common; they are both in dire need of some art education.
The Sistine nudes show the "naughty bits" as a metaphor of vulnerability and total exposure to God's will. (Note: God is clothed; man is not in the frescos). Covering them insults God by equalizing man and deity and that act would be blasphemous to any Christian, hence, the offending member remains on high by papal decree for all, including children, to see.
Unlike Michelangelo, I am not a religious man, but like him I am an artist who works in a visual media. To complete my work, I need devices of visual metaphor to get the idea across. A gay man loses the love of his life and it strips him of happiness and makes him feel exposed and alone to the extreme. The degree of nudity I used to illustrate this fact was in equal measure to the gravitas of the situation.
It is sad that we as a culture must always placate those who do not take the time to understand art or each other; unfortunately that was the position the OMA found itself in. The staff at OMA understand my art, but must balance the desire to enlighten with a huge dose of fiscal awareness. I do not agree with their decision, but I do understand.
The very people who object to this image are the same ones who teach their children that gay people are "abominations of humanity" and who read sexual titillation into any image containing nudity. Perhaps if their children were given a good art education and then exposed to meaningful art instead of isolating them and teaching them to hate, our society could finally progress past the Middle Ages. Oh, I forgot, in the Middle Ages you could paint a male nude on a church ceiling with the pope's blessing and for ALL to see!
Adam Nehr, Orlandoletters@orlandoweekly.com
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