Glory Hole

7 - 22 July 2006

'Glory Hole' is a group exhibition, curated by Pablo Internacional Magazin, exploring the place of homosexuality in public space.

Artists:
Guilherme Altmayer (Brasil/UK)
Fernando Arias (Colombia/UK)
assume vivid astro focus (international)
Gil Doron (Israel/UK)
Dino Dinco (USA)
Elmgreen and Dragset (Denmark/Norway/Berlin)
No Bra (Germany/UK)
Giles Round (UK)
Dean Sameshima (USA)
Donald Urquhart (UK)

Texts by:
Bill Arning (USA)
Mark Turner (UK)
Jeffrey Walkowiak (USA)
Straight to Hell (USA)

The material in the exhibition is primarily photography and video, depicting urban spaces used for gay sex. It brings together works by a selection of international contemporary artists to illustrate how gay culture has traditionally been forced to convert spaces reserved for other purposes (such as parks and toilets) into social and intimate spaces, and the contemporary relationship between homosexuality and the public realm.

‘Glory Hole’ focuses on the modification of public homosexual practices in cities in the age of gaydar and gay marriage, and on the restriction of sexual practices in public spaces surveyed and invigilated by a predominantly heterosexual society. The exhibition looks at the re-appropriation of public buildings and spaces for sexual activity, and the ghetto-isation of homosexual practices.

Dean Sameshima’s image, ‘Untitled (Mutual Blow Job)’ (above), reveals the silent language of deaf-mutes and is indicative of the silent and secret language of homosexual cruising, gazes and contact. assume vivid astro focus' ‘Homocrap’ posters subvert and reposition cultural and political images of sexuality, highlighting the resistance of many segments of society to homosexuality.
Reference is made to the other life of public and private spaces, and their use as places for the sexual encounter of masculinities.

Dino Dinco photographs cruising grounds in Elysian Park in downtown Los Angeles (top) which are used by Latino men as a space to expore their sexuality. Sameshima’s photographs of sex clubs in Los Angeles (above) capture a discreet architecture that does little to reveal their purpose, while Elmgreen and Dragset’s ‘Cruising Pavilion’, built for a park in Denmark, combines a white cube gallery aesthetic with a cruising space.

‘Public Inconvenience’, a video by Fernando Arias, presents a powerful and intimate insight into the social choreographies and tensions that are brought to the surface in a (now closed) London public toilet. Once a traditional place for the sexual liberation of anonymous men, most public toilets in London have been closed down, the remaining ones have been architectonically modified and are constantly surveyed and raided. Giles Round’s coloured drawing with pixelated aesthetic, ‘With That You Turned And Walked Out Of My Life Forever’ (below), refers to the romantic element existing in fugitive encounters.

Other works relate to the use of the city as a place of encounter. Copies of Straight to Hell present male sexual encounters before the Aids Crisis and the mainstreaming of homosexual culture. A research map by Pablo Internacional Magazine documents an ever-changing map of cruising places in London, using data available from squirt.org in which users inform each other of the use and closure of cruising spaces. Through posters and flyers members of the Reclaim the Square group promote activism as a way of reclaiming cruising grounds, such as Russell Square which was closed in 2002. Finally, Guilherme Altmayer’s news posters offer a possible future, announcing the re-opening of cruising grounds in central London.

Rowan Moore, Director of The Architecture Foundation says “Glory Hole describes an aspect of cities that is as universal as coffee shops, yet is generally overlooked in discussions about urbanism. We believe that insight into cities’ sexual spaces is an essential part of understanding them as a whole.”

The Glory Hole sign is by Donald Urquhart. A special issue of Pablo Magazine containing texts by Bill Arning, Mark Turner, Jeffrey Walkowiak and Dino Dinco will be published on the occasion of the exhibition.

Many thanks to No Bra for performing at Private View. Private view kindly sponsored by

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