mad with impatience like fantastic old bearded Whitman to clasp my body to the bodies I adore

Wynn Chamberlain, part two:

poets_dressed poets_nude

Poets Dressed and Undressed (1964)

Joe Brainard, Frank O’Hara, Joe LeSueur and Frank Lima (standing).

Allen Ginsberg, writing in the catalogue for a show featuring the paintings:

Why am I interested in seeing myself naked? Because for years I thought I was ugly. I still do, but I no longer look at myself through my own eyes, I look out – my eyes look outward at my Desire, and I reach out to touch the bodies I love without fear that I’ll be rejected because I’m ugly. Because I don’t feel ugly now, I feel me – more than that, I feel desirous, longing, lost; mad with impatience like fantastic old bearded Whitman to clasp my body to the bodies I adore. So I’m interested in nakedness, I love my old loves’ nakedness. I love anyone’s nakedness that expresses their acceptance of being born in this body, in this flesh, on this planet that will die … So Chamberlain has painted every body naked – modern Joves, Ganymedes, Aphrodities, etc., if you want a tradition – modern friends as they really are to themselves with their naked babies lifted in triumph on bacchic friends’ shoulders stepping forth from the picture toward society; happy, victorious, still alive, photographic, fleshy, truthful to their own birth without clothes.

Found on Locus Solus: The New York School of Poets

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Jamie Atherton

Jamie Atherton is an artist living and working in London.

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