ADI NES at Olga Korper Gallery (Koffler Gallery offsite venue, 17 Morrow), to June 2. 416-538-8220. See listing. Rating: NNNN
Though his photographs are obviously staged, Adi Nes still reveals a lot about little-seen sides of Israeli life.
The Tel Aviv-based artist's show, curated by the Koffler Gallery at Olga Korper, is selected from three recent series - Boys, Soldiers and Biblical Stories - that combine homoeroticism, social commentary and riffs on classical art.
In Boys, swarthy adolescents, like the Narcissus who gazes into a dirty puddle, strike classical poses in a grotty modern suburb similar to the one where Nes, whose family immigrated from Iraq, grew up. Soldiers includes homoerotic images of handsome models shinnying up a pole or frolicking in a pond in a fantasy of military leisure; sleeping or wounded guys who evoke the dead Christ; and a mess hall recreation of Leonardo's Last Supper.
Nes casts the urban homeless as pro-tagonists of his Biblical Stories. Abraham pushes Isaac in a grocery cart, Elijah sleeps on a park bench, Ruth and Naomi glean produce from the garbage. The existence of homelessness in Israel is not highly publicized, and the fact that these Bible stories are part of the nation's claim on the land adds another layer to the mix.
Nes brings a queer Sephardic voice to the critical dialogue on Israel.