Martin Firrell
Burt Reynolds
2019
In 1972, the actor
Burt Reynolds
posed for
Cosmopolitan
magazine, becoming the world's first nude male centrefold.

Helen Gurley Brown, the magazine's then editor, believed women had the same 'visual appetites' as men. (Men had been able to see naked women in Playboy magazine as early as 1953.)

Since the 1970s, popular culture has explored and celebrated alternative forms of masculinity, notably the 'new man' and the 'geek'.

In this work, the artist suggests that the tide is turning once again in favour of less nuanced portrayals of masculinity where action and machismo are valued above anything else.

Perhaps in uncertain times, it's natural to look for the reassurance of past certainties when the world seemed simpler.

The work includes an image of
Eugen Sandow
the world's first professional body builder.
Sandow measured the proportions of statues in museum collections in order to develop his own physique to resemble the Greek ideal.

Sandow's face is obscured by the work's text indicating that it is the symbolism of the ideal, rather than Sandow himself, which is of interest to the artist.

This artwork is part of socialart.work, a mass public art project by public artist
Martin Firrell
calling for greater social justice.

It aims to create debate about power and gender, women's equality and masculinity, alternative forms of economic and social organisation, black power, and solidarity between people from different backgrounds and ethnicities.

It includes posters, publications and events supported in 2018-19 by the artist's residency with leading Out of Home media company
Clear Channel UK.
Part Of
socialart.work
Medium
Digital billboard
Displayed
UK, January 2019
Supported by
Clear Channel UK
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Hi-res image
Acknowledgement
A New Sandow Pose (VII)
Wellcome Collection
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