New York

George Platt Lynes

Grey Art Gallery

Collected by the Kinsey Institute as documentation of homosexuality, George Platt Lynes’ photographs enjoy a certain notoriety. But in this survey, which located these images in the context of Lynes’ production as a whole, their dated artiness was more conspicuous than the sexuality they were meant to depict. Indeed, it seemed clear that for Lynes homosexuality had more to do with a certain manner of self-presentation than with a certain kind of sexual act. The intimacy of Lynes’ couples (sometimes triples) is in fact undermined by their dramatic positioning and posturing—the scenes seem more like staged performances than spontaneous acts of love. (Despite what Kinsey thought to be Lynes’ daring, discretion was the better part of valor for him, as his nostalgic, virtually sentimental, presentation of these scenes suggests.)

Lynes also dramatizes the body, often with a quasi-tenebrous

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. Please sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW and save up to 65% off the newsstand price for full online access to this issue and our archive.

Order the PRINT EDITION of the January 1994 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.