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The soccer player in question, Franck Ribery, has since been acquitted of soliciting sex with an underage prostitute. Pushing the boundaries is typical of the French partners in love and art, Pierre Commoy and Gilles Blanchard. They have established a worldwide reputation for shock ever since their stylized, hand-painted homoerotic photos first appeared nearly 40 years ago.
It can disturb, but artists are made for that. Today, their iconic images of stars such as Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Mick Jagger and Catherine Deneuve appear alongside images of naked gay porn stars in glittering and fantastical scenes on coffee tables around the world. As with the Dehar photo, they always try to challenge prejudice over racial and social minorities — here, by using the former sex-worker-turned-fashion designer from a former French colony as the legendary French queen.
Their takes on racism, religion and sexuality include an illustration of a loin-clothed Jesus writhing on the cross and Adam and Eve in a pornographic pose. Yet in person they are painfully introverted and rarely do interviews — a fitting paradox for artists who love contradiction. It shocked and surprised me.
But it means something. It means that something that was hidden inside people came out. While less well-known in the U. The exhibit poster, a homoerotic photo of a nude black, Arab and white footballer — meant to mirror diversity in French society and evoke the tricolour flag — caused an outcry in socially conservative Austria when it was plastered around Vienna.