Lookbook by Josh Paul Thomas
Museum as Retail Space (MaRS) is pleased to present its first lookbook by Josh Paul Thomas in conjunction with the gallery’s public launch of its e-commerce art inventory.
Text by Robert Zin Stark:
From Juan A. Gaitán’s essay What is the Public?, “If we are to follow Marcel Duchamp’s celebrated axiom that art is a rendezvous, it is also the public’s medium - the medium through which the public becomes public. And it is in relation to this last encounter, the encounter of the public with itself and with its own image, that the discourse around the exhibition of art, contemporary or not, begins to unravel most of its utopian formulations and justifications.”
The relationship between a gallery and the public has been rooted in its intimacy. An exhibition unveils the work, making naked its existence to the public. Beginning with European salons as intimate exchanges of ideas fanned to the public by cafe culture, the exhibition later exploded into New York as white cubes and their must-see scenes. You had to be there.
The contemporary public has disassociated its intimacy into the Internet, but therefore expanded the essence of the public. To be public means to be virtualized as one exists. We dream now not for a cloak of invisibility, but for the body of an exhibitionist. Our intimacy has been lost to a dimensionless void, but in exchange we can be infinitely public.
The “gallery exhibition” requires reinvention of itself in order to stay a medium of the public. Museum as Retail Space submits the virtualization of its existence with an accessible inventory at the time of openings, as well as the convention of a lookbook to celebrate the intention of this pluralism.
Josh Paul Thomas’ work obsesses over the classical male youth and the radical freedom possible by its objectification. The body’s commodity is exonerated of taboo by way of its verity. Whereas it would be morally bankrupt to objectify the female figure, for Thomas it is a moral imperative to objectify the male form.
A Pasolini-esque compulsion towards tests of dignity in his images are buoyed by comical use of pose and the surreal. Subjects become bodies, and bodies become composition - the elements of their masculine nature picked through and used as decoration.
Josh Paul Thomas (b. 1985 Healdsburg, California)
The guiltless underground queer photographer of Los Angeles, Thomas has focused on the classical male nude in its contemporary context of taboo and objectification over the past decade. He has photographed campaigns for Bernhard Willhelm, as well as portraits of counter cultural icons such as Joe Dallesandro and Pamela Anderson. His work has been featured in Vogue.com, Interview Magazine Germany, and other notable publications.