Picture six people lined up in a row, looking straight at the camera: three women, clothed, and three men--stark naked. Surprising? Yes. Erotic? No. Funny? Rather, but basically a one-liner. The same may be said of all of the mural-sized black-and-white photographs by Zinnia now on view at Touchstone Gallery, 2130 P St. NW.
Titled "Nude Men, A Different View," the show is, in fact, not a very different view from that taken by many post-lib women artists who've chosen as subject matter the male nude--impassively scrutinized. This switch on the centuries-old formula of clothed men painting the female nude has often been propelled more by hostility than romance, and that is surely the case here. Three hired male models do the nude posing in Zinnia's domestic scenarios, sometimes alone, but more effectively in combination with clothed women whose chief function is to be blatantly more interested in their cartons of yogurt and their books than in the men who stand beside them. One can hardly resist, in this context, recalling the immortal words of Rhett Butler: "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." But now they're coming out of Scarlett O'Hara's mouth.
The show, which also includes decorative portrait-benches carved from wood by Altina, continues through April 18, and is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sundays, noon to 5.