Chapter

Frank O’Hara Nude with Boots

Brian Glavey

in The Wallflower Avant-Garde

Published in print December 2015 | ISBN: 9780190202651
Published online October 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780190202675 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190202651.003.0005
Frank O’Hara Nude with Boots

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Although often read as a poet of motion, Frank O’Hara’s work is also invested in the erotic power of the static and monumental. This chapter underlines an obvious fact revealed by the scores of portraits painted and sculpted of him: O’Hara spent a great deal of time standing still. Like Gertrude Stein, O’Hara shaped his poetic practice not only in relation to the experience of admiring and interpreting the visual art produced by his friends but also by sitting for it. The poet’s identifications with works of art are important interventions in the ekphrastic tradition and attempts to imagine visible forms of homoerotic masculinity. O’Hara identifies with his public image and works to transform the postwar association of gay men with mimesis. The potentially surprising fact is that, despite his reputation as a poet among painters, O’Hara often conceptualizes his own aesthetic in relation to sculpture rather than paint.

Keywords: Frank O’Hara; ekphrasis; sculpture; mimesis

Chapter.  11478 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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