EXHIBITION

French_Sailor-(Back)
Untitled (Sailor) / P00144
Jim French, P00084
Untitled (Sailor) / P00086
Jim French, P00095
Untitled (Sailor) / P00095
Jim French, P00074
Untitled (Sailor) / P00074
Jim French, P00075
Untitled (Cowboy) / P00075
Jim French, P00103
Untitled (Cowboy) / P00103
Jim French, P00059
Untitled (Two Cowboys) / P00059
Jim French, P00062
Untitled (Two Cowboys) / P00062
Jim French, P00071
Untitled (Cowboy) / P00071
Jim French, P00107
Untitled (Construction Worker) / P00107
Jim French, P00068
Untitled (Wrestlers) / P00068
Jim French, P00083
Untitled (Leather Jacket) / P00083
Jim French, P00102
Untitled (Blindfold) / 00102
Jim French, P00080
Untitled (Two Men in Leather) / P00080
Jim French, P00086
Untitled (Two Men in Leather) / P00084
Jim French, P00073
Untitled (Model) / P00073
Jim French, P00088
Untitled (Model) / P00088
Jim French, P00087
Untitled (Model) / P00087
Jim French, P00096
Untitled (Bowing) / P00096
Jim French, P00097
Untitled (In Bed) / P00097
Jim French, Man in Chair, P00109
Untitled (Man in Chair) / P00109
Jim French, P00110
Untitled (Model) / P00110
Jim French, P00112
Untitled (Cowboy) / P00112
P00115
Untitled (Dancers) / P00115
Jim French, P00143
Untitled (Man in Vest) / P00143
Jim French, P00079
Untitled (Model) / P00079
Installation Image, Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor, Jim French
Exhibition Image
Installation Image, Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor, Jim French
Exhibition Image
Installation Image, Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor, Jim French
Exhibition Image

November 21 – December 21, 2013

Opening reception:
Thursday, November 21, 2013
6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

ClampArt is pleased to present “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor: Polaroids by Jim French,” which coincides with the release of the book of the same title from Antinous Press (Hardcover, 144 pages, 9.75 x 7.5 inches, $50).

Jim French (b. 1932) first began drawing and then photographing male erotica in the 1960s. Originally a successful fashion illustrator, French and an old army buddy partnered to open a mail order company in New York City they called Luger. French contributed homoerotic drawings of hyper-masculine types such as soldiers, cowboys, and bikers. Eventually he bought out his business partner, and by 1967, under the pseudonym Rip Colt, he founded the now infamous Colt Studio. Producing highly detailed drawings for various Colt Studio books, magazines, and calendars, French turned to the new Polaroid camera to shoot photographs of male models that eventually would serve as research studies. However, despite his great talent with the pencil, as time went on, French ultimately built a formidable reputation for himself as one of the most important photographers of the male form. ClampArt’s exhibition features the vintage Polaroid studio “studies” French shot in the late 1960s.

Models can be expensive, and photographing them in many poses during a single studio session proved convenient and more economical to French. But then, before the 1970s there were challenges getting erotic subject matter that was shot on film processed. Going to a public lab, one would face arrest, so artists had to rely on private connections, but the quality could often be poor. Polaroid offered photographers the ability to bypass the lab altogether with pictures ready in just a matter of minutes. To quote Christopher Harrity writing about French’s work for The Advocate: “The Polaroid camera was a boon to the amateur and professional. Polaroid knew that well when it created a sexy white camera called ‘the Swinger.’”

French’s Polaroids are at turns sexy, shocking, sometimes campy, but invariably beautiful. The artist, known for his perfectionism, created classically-inspired and wonderfully composed photographs that largely established a standard and approach for the visual ideal of male sexual beauty. Along with other physique photographers such as Bruce of LA and Western Photography Guild, fine artists such as George Platt Lynes and the collective PaJaMa, French significantly influenced later figures such as Robert Mapplethorpe, Bruce Weber, and Herb Ritts.

Jim French was formally trained at the Philadelphia Museum School from 1950 to 1954 before joining the armed services in 1955. After an honorable discharge in 1957, he settled in New York City, where he resided until 1974, when he relocated to the Hollywood Hills in California. He has nine published books including “Man”; “Another Man”; “Jim French Men”; “Quorum”; “Opus Deorum”; “Masc.”; “The Art of Jim French”; “The Art of the Male Nude”; and now “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor.” The artist is retired and resides in Palm Springs.

For more information and images please contact Brian Paul Clamp, Director, or see www.clampart.com. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

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