New York

Robert Mapplethorpe

Robert Miller Gallery

The efflorescence of “gay art” in recent seasons has taken a number of forms: political agitprop, neo-Conceptualist critique, and, often, straightforward representation. Not surprisingly, this last category probably has the greatest appeal for a specialized and yet general audience: gay men and lesbians who are largely unfamiliar with the tangled determinations that inform contemporary art, but who know a cute butt when they see one. It might be argued that positioning such explicit representations within precincts not traditionally overly hospitable to them is a political achievement in itself, as the images bring the reality of our pleasures into the clear light of day (or at least the dramatizing glow of gallery track lighting). But is it interesting as art? To eyes accustomed to a more complicated reception of images, bare representations of flowering genitalia and Michelangelesque

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