WESTERN PROJECT GALLERY BOX 641338 Los Angeles, CA USA
Western Project is proud to present the first solo exhibition by Bob Mizer. Perhaps the most influential twentieth century photographer of the male physique, Mizer is also the most under-recognized. His photography was a seedbed for a myriad of image makers, both amateur and professional - such as Robert Mapplethorpe, David Hockney, Jim French, Bruce Weber and Andy Warhol. Using home made sets, or light and slide projections, the artist prefigured what would later become ‘constructed’ photography in the early 1980’s. Mizer also produced the widely circulated men’s magazine, Physique Pictorial, which introduced and promoted the artists, Quaintance and Tom of Finland to the world at large. By producing Physique Pictorial, Mizer infiltrated/flooded American culture with images of men and a fantastic spectrum of masculinity. Working out of his house in Los Angeles, Mizer created his legendary studio, Athletic Model Guild, part business, part watering hole and wayward house for youths, but primarily ground zero for the new era of male imagery. With knowledge of art history and film, Mizer’s work was meticulous, intelligent, humorous, and eloquent – a language that could only come from the mid-century, golden age of Southern California. With out a doubt, Mizer must now truly be counted as a father of the sexual revolution. It is not ironic that the male eroticism in today’s Abercrombie and Fitch advertisements was born in the 1940’s in a garage in Los Angeles.
What distinguished his images was the quality of obsession (as Picasso was to women); Mizer was unapologetically a fan of men - from his homemade sets to the handmade costumes - Mizer was the ultimate fan of the male form. As a pioneer of modern gay erotica, the artist worked nearly fifty years, photographing over ten thousand models, and producing just under one million black and white, and color images. Western Project will be exhibiting a selected group of photographs from the first half of Mizer’s career, along with props, costumes, collages and set pieces from the AMG studio. The exhibition is intended as an introduction to a history of images - of primary information, aesthetically and socially important to the nature of who we are, and what we culturally value today.