Paul Binnie Los 41 Maricones de 1901

Paul Binnie “Los 41 Maricones de 1901” artwork
Paul Binnie
Los 41 Maricones de 1901
Series title
Pictorial Allusions, Reused Blocks
Japanese series title
Honga Dori 本画取り
Colour woodblock print on paper
Paper dimensions (h × w)
Image dimensions (h × w)
Edition size
Artist's proofs
Handsome Men (Bidanshi 美男子)
"On the last day of Pride Month - yet before San Diego Pride, in a few weeks - here is a tribute to some persecuted gay men of the past. This is a departure for me; I’ve never lifted a design wholesale from another artist to make a design, but this series allows the reuse of old woodblocks, and by extension the entire image, and I feel the story justifies the appropriation. Previously I’ve reused Japanese woodblocks, but this intriguing image is by Mexican broadsheet artist José Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913), reporting the raid on a ball in a private home in Mexico City in 1901 at which 41 men were arrested, many of them in drag, for dancing and cavorting together. While there was no law against homosexuality in Mexico, the Catholic Church wasn’t a fan (publicly anyway), and this came just a short time after homosexual persecutions in Europe, notably the trial of Oscar Wilde. ‘The Dance of the 41’ has been called ‘the invention of homosexuality in Mexico’, always framed negatively, while it should be noted that many indigenous cultures in North America were tolerant and even supportive of homosexuality and queer identity. As you’ll see from the final image, the broadsheet which featured this image, the problematic insult word Maricones (gays) was featured prominently, and the etymology of this is more or less ‘a group of Marias’, using a common female name to emasculate homosexual men. An alternative English title for my print might be ‘The 41 Marys of 1901’, reflecting that etymology and the use of Mary=Gay in the history of some English-speaking countries. A recent movie, David Pablos’s ‘El Baile de Los 41’ (The Dance of the 41) is available on Netflix and covers the main aspects of this story in a fictionalised narrative." Binnie, July 1, 2022
Catalogue number
183 (L519)
Supplementary images