Vitruvian Gallery, the plucky little gallery that debuted last fall with the unique mission of showing only male figurative art, is setting high expectations for its next exhibit.
“We think it’s going to be the most controversial show in D.C. since Robert Mapplethorpe shut down the Corcoran,” says Jack Cox, co-owner of Vitruvian. In fact, Cox believes the show will be “among the most controversial art installations ever mounted in Washington.”
The featured artist, Glenn Fry, has a more tempered view of where his work lands in the timeline of art history. “To me, anymore, everything has already been done, shock-wise,” he says. But even if the Family Research Council won’t be at his door with torches and billy clubs after, Fry does describe his upcoming work as “suggestive” and “a little in your face.” But, he adds, “It’s not vulgur. It’s very erotic.”
Fry, who got a career boost from an appearance on the Real Housewives of D.C., staged photo shoots inspired by male nude photos from the 1960s and ‘70s. He altered 25-30 photos with captions and color treatments, creating “vintage-esque male erotica.”
Cox maintains that this vintage-esque male erotica will set the Washington art world ablaze. “Oh, the street buzz on this already,” he exclaims. “We keep getting calls.” He has no fear of controversy. “I think there will be some cluck cluck, but so what?” he says. “Some people are going to love it. Some people are going to hate it. Some people are going to want it and treasure it. I think there could be a negative response from some people, but not everyone likes the Mona Lisa.”
Fry had long envisioned a show inspired by vintage beefcake magazines and male erotica, but no gallery seemed a good fit to host it. Then Cox walked into his studio and told him about Vitruvian. “And I thought, wow,” says Fry. “This is a perfect match.”
The all-male nude, all-the-time gallery opens the show to the public on January 14. “Maybe we’re making a big mistake,” muses Cox. “Maybe we’re onto something.” He’s taking no chances though: “On this one, I’m hiring security.”