- Tom- Tom
Some years back, on Delos, the sacred island the Greeks honor as the birthplace of Apollo, I saw the remains of two giant phalluses at the ruins of the Temple of Dionysus. What, I wondered, had caused us to loose our minds – our connection to the goodness of our dicks? This temple, with its profoundly beautiful adornments stood in the best part of town. Could anyone imagine two huge phalluses on either side of the entrance to St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue in New York?
The art created by various cultures reveals the values of the culture. A well-appointed Roman villa would include explicit erotic art. I’m talking about representations of copulation. They didn’t think there was anything rude about a couple fucking in a mural in a place of pride in the center of the house or on an exquisite wine goblet on the dining room table. These were not things hidden in a bottom drawer. We really have nothing parallel to that today. We don’t even have an idea of what erotic art is. We labeled most anything to do with sex in art as pornography. Such is the result of our binary brains lost in black and white judgment. We have no phalluses at the entrance to our temples.
As an artist, I find our cultural blind spot – or more accurately – our gaping cultural black hole – an irresistible challenge. My intention is to fill that void with beauty. In this series of short essays – “blogs” in this age – I suggest how that void can be filled. I’m no less interested in why it’s critical to understand what value this exercise has for our individual and collective evolution than I am in the subject of how to re-evaluate what we see.
One of the first photographs I made of a man in an erect state is called DAVID HARD. The title is not a pretentious allusion to any other David – it is simply and fortuitously the man’s name.
The authority with which David occupies this dark space is what made this photo work for me. Something that might be considered prurient becomes instead, something classic and iconic. The power of the man as a sexual being is the subject. If a reader cannot at present see this as something other than a pornographic image, this series will, I hope, clarify the distinction between erotic vision and pornographic pandering so that we may enjoy our humanity more fully.