'Where Are All The Naked Men?' At MAC 650

'Naked Men' exhibit at Middletown gallery flips art-world norm of presenting naked women

It's a question well worth asking: "Where are all the naked men?"

Hannah King asked herself that a year ago while visiting the MAC 650 Gallery in Middletown, which had an exhibit of nudes. "It was nude women, nude women. It was billed as a show of naked bodies," she says. "I got angry."

King found a kindred spirit in The Guerrilla Girls, the feminist activist artists who pointed out several years ago that 4 percent of artists in the modern art section of the Metropolitan Museum of Art were women, but 76 percent of the painted nudes were women.

So King, of New Haven, curated her own show, opening Thursday, Oct. 1, at MAC 650. She contributed four photos of her own. "Are we uncomfortable with male nudity? Do male and female artists see male nudity differently?" King asks.

The show, which depicts solely naked men, features 44 pieces by 19 male and female Connecticut artists. Many of the works show men in classical poses, but the most charming pieces show men whose nudity is put into the context of everyday life.

King's "Cheese and Beer" shows her model sitting on a bed, wearing a watch cap, drinking a beer and eating cheese. "Baggage," a cyanotype by Daniel Toby Gonzalez of Manchester, is four extreme close-ups of a man squishing his tummy fat with his hands. Photographs by Cat Boyce of Bristol show a naked man in the woods, a la Tarzan.

Samuel G. Carlson of New Haven steals the show, with four funny little drawings of an Average Joe doing Average Joe things, while naked: chugging milk straight out of the jug, working on his laptop with his cat by his side, etc.

"When we are nude, we are rarely arrayed on day beds, and scarcer still standing upon a scallop," Carlson explains in his artist statement.

Among the other artists, Jesse Newman of Wallingford contributes two photos, posed for some others and will perform in the band on opening night.

"REPRESENTATIONS OF MASCULINITY: WHERE ARE ALL THE NAKED MEN?" will be at MAC 650 Gallery, 650 Main St. in Middletown, from, Thursday, Oct. 1, when it opens with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m., until Oct. 17. The opening reception coincides with the Middletown Art Walk. A male figure drawing class will be held Oct. 8 at 7 p.m., admission $10. http://mac650gallery.wix.com/masculinity

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