Introducing AT's very own Mark Chamberlain -- known and loved for his illuminating column, ColorTherapy... Mark is also known and loved in the art world as the wry, insightful brush behind the sensational watercolor series, Queer Batman. But there's more...
Mark's latest work is a disarming series of self-portraits as archetypes, historical and mythical figures.
(But wait!, You say you want to see more Batman? Check out his website here and read more about this series in context at the end of this post).
Inquiries about the works featured here? Please contact Mark directly via email.
Want to meet Mark/the artist/your color therapist in person? Come on out to Kathleen Cullen Fine Arts this Thursday, May 1 from 6 - 8pm for the opening reception of "Changes In Time" -- up until May 24. The exhibition will feature new paintings from the series, Queer Batman: A Renaissance.
Also showing: Mark Demott, Daniel Wheeler, Samira Abbassy. Kathleen Cullen Fine Arts is located at at 508 West 26 Street, Suite 5A (10th Avenue) NYC.
Know any artists whose work would make a home a lovelier place? Send ideas to The Gallery. Thanks!
QUEER BATMAN IN CONTEXT
In 1954 Dr. Frederick Wertham, psychiatric consultant to the Chief Censor of the United States Treasury Department, published Seduction of the Innocent, a 400-page rant against the comic book industry. In it, he claimed that comic books caused violence, delinquency and deviant behavior in children, and was to be blamed for the rise of homosexuality in society. Batman was held to be particularly subversive. He writes:
At home [Batman and Robin] lead an idyllic life. They are Bruce Wayne and "Dick" Grayson. Bruce is described as a "socialite" and the official relationship is that Dick is Bruce's ward. They live in sumptuous quarters, with beautiful flowers in large vases and have a butler, Alfred. Batman is sometimes shown in a dressing gown...the young boy sometimes worries about his partner. It is like a wish dream of two homosexuals living together. Sometimes they are shown on a couch, Bruce reclining and Dick sitting next to him, jacket off, collar open, and his hand on his friend's arm. Like girls in other stories, Robin is sometimes held captive by the villains...
Robin is a handsome athletic boy, usually showing his uniform with bare legs. He is buoyant with energy and devoted to nothing on earth or interplanetary space as much as to Bruce Wayne. He often stands with legs spread, the genital region discreetly evident.1
The U.S. Senate promptly held hearings, the Comic Books Code Authority was put in place and rigid self-censorship practices were begun within the industry.
I hardly think that comic books cause homosexuality, but even if they did, I don't think homosexuality is a bad thing. I'm simply bringing this homoerotic subtext into full relief. But in another way I'm merely using these characters as a vehicle to express certain elements of my own personality.