Francis Bacon and David Hockney codified male desire in ways that contested conventional protocols of the heteronormative, or naturalized heterosexual, gaze. Through their frank depictions of the male body, Bacon’s and Hockney’s images of men in the 1960s deliberately explore the intricate process of male-male identification which is often circumscribed by the social pressures inherent in hegemonic masculinity, a sociohistorically contingent gender-identity pecking order among men, and a tendency of gynocentric gender critics to treat the male body as pathological or ridiculous. Many works from this period by both of these artists affirm embodied masculinities, by complicating the subject-object relationship, and resist being read as merely depicting the male body as essentially pathological, by celebrating the embodied male. The four exemplary works discussed in this paper; Bacon’s Three Figures in a Room (1963), his Two Studies for a Portrait of George Dyer (1968), Hockney’s Adhesiveness (1960), and his In an Old Book (1966); represent an engendering of a post-heteronormative gaze that offers a male-positive, rather than a male-pathological, depiction of men.
|Keywords:||Masculinities, Male-positive, David Hockney, Francis Bacon|
Associate Professor of English, Humanities Department, Springfield College, Springfield, Massachusetts, USA
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