Cult by Hunter Madsen


An all-but-nude male physique stretched out for suffering is the ubiquitous fetish of mankind's dominant religion, whose teachings, inevitably, abhor sexual expression of all kinds and, above all, homoerotic desire.  

Much like the peasants in the Emperor's New Clothes, we are disciplined to adopt a cultural blindness, seeing nothing amiss in what would otherwise unmistakably reduce to male body worship constructed around a dead-man personality cult. Dampening all desire, what we perceive is not a hunk, of course, but an unappetizing corpse in waiting, a body shortly to dematerialize and transcend.  

In direct parallel to the Jesus figure, the Western canon serves up a more seemly male icon, better suited to absorb the arrows of desire, in the form of the beautiful young martyr Saint Sebastian, similarly hung up for torment, on whom we may feast our gaze. 
Here two disciples act out wonderment and grieving, yet they might as easily be symbolizing the viewer's twinned plights of lust and prudish aversion. Next stop, the loathsome Pierre et Gilles.


TITLE - "Cult"
WHERE - St. John Cathedral, Seattle, Washington (2022)