I’m not sure how to begin writing about the beautiful and powerful work of New York based artist Ain Cocke. Maybe I’ll let him do it…
“Gender theorists and historians have posited that the first half of the 20th century was the end of a period where male intimacy was allowed without the burden of specific identities like “homosexual,” which imposed restrictions on behavior between men as much as clarified and codified it.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself! I love how he’s taken these images of soldiers, and blended them with flowery, almost Rococo detailing. If the backgrounds were different, say a manly Navy boat, or a bloody battlefield, homosexuality wouldn’t even be inferred, but swap those out for lush gardens and some rosy cheeks and suddenly the closeness of the men seems sexual. Amazing really. Ah, the power of gold leaf and ceramic flowers!