Friday, August 28, 2015

Why Harry Bush Was an Artist at War

Harry Bush was a homosexual who drew male nudes throughout the 1970s and '80s for hardcore magazines but wanted nothing to do with gay people in particular. And although his work rarely deviates from the archetypal youths awakening to their primal urges at the very moment they reach physical perfection, the man drawing those images was a frail and aging hermit who kept an oxygen tank not far from his ever-present pack of cigarettes.
Bush has been described over the years as a talented bundle of contradictions barely covered by skin. Even as his work became more pointed and popular, Harry obsessed that if his fixation on the Boy Next Door ever got back to his relatives, they'd conspire to strip him of his government pension and lock him up in an old age home to die. Even so, and despite knowing that most of his colleagues worked under pseudonyms, Harry Bush signed everything he ever drew with his own name.
Bush died in 1994, of emphysema. He left a legacy of impossibly perfect teens dangling like ripe fruit in the half-light between adolescence and adulthood.
If Bush's drawings continue to captivate succeeding generations, Bob Mainardi, who assembled the 2007 Harry Bush anthology Hard Boys, believes it's because they're about "living without shame, especially when you're young, which I still think is difficult. It's still a tough time growing up and deciding how to come out or whether to come out at all." Read more.

Source: OUT, Kevin Phinney, August 28, 2015

Hard Boys, Paperback – Nov. 2007 by Harry Bush (Author)