Issue #7892: Masculinities

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Our first issue of 2020 is devoted to the Barbican’s forthcoming show on how masculinity is coded, performed, and socially constructed

We begin our 167th year with a special issue devoted to the Barbican Art Gallery’s forthcoming blockbuster exhibition, Masculinities. Opening with a discussion with the show’s curator, Alona Pardo, we introduce six contributing photographers from the exhibition. Now available in the BJP shop, the issue considers how masculinity has been coded, performed, and socially constructed from the 1960s to the present day.

Growing up in the febrile atmosphere of manliness following Israel’s Six-Day War, Adi Nes never felt he quite fitted in until he joined the IDF, embraced his sexuality and went to art college. His subsequent series is an attempt to “challenge stereotypical masculine imagery” and “allow my subjects to be sensitive”.

Granted access to the elite London gentlemen’s clubs of the early 1980s, Karen Knorr exposes the power, privilege and patriarchy that continues to shape society today. Elsewhere, Sunil Gupta captures the flourishing of gay pride in the years following the Stonewall riots, the same year that the artist himself went through a journey of self-discovery.

If her images appear unsettling, that’s our own hang-up, says Aneta Bartos, who photographed herself with her ageing father, a bodybuilder who was much more than a masculine archetype. Adopting a variety of guises and costumes, Samuel Fosso has spent a lifetime subverting cultural stereotypes with his performative self-portraits. Plus Hans Eijkelboom explores the notion of the perfect man in his series inspired by the desires of women.

In Agenda, we speak to Laia Abril who shares the harrowing reality that led to the second chapter of her fascinating work, A History of Misogyny: Chapter Two – On Rape. Plus, a new book and exhibition showing Henry Moore side by side with Bill Brandt plots the parallel careers of the two eminent British artists. Our Any Answers this month is Michael Stipe, who was a photographer long before he became the frontman of rock band REM.

This month’s projects look at the veracity of historical objects, in Giulia Parlato’s Diachronicles, and outdated archetypes in Alabama in Belle, by Cocoa Laney.  Elsewhere, Damien Demolder test-drives the new, mirrorless SL2 from Leica.

Purchase the latest issue from the BJP shop, or join 1854 Full Access, where members receive each issue with a unique collectable cover every month, or1854 Digital Access that offers the magazine ad-free on tablet and iPad.

Marigold Warner

Deputy Editor

Marigold Warner worked as an editor at BJP between 2018 and 2023. She studied English Literature and History of Art at the University of Leeds, followed by an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London. Her work has been published by titles including the Telegraph Magazine, Huck, Elephant, Gal-dem, The Face, Disegno, and the Architects Journal.