Bob Mizer – Court Declares Nudity Not Obscene

It was 1968. Free love and the sexual revolution were happening all across America. But the mores of the past still lingered, and photographer Bob Mizer’s pictures of male nudes were cited as part of the evidence labeled “obscene” in a 1968 trial in Federal Court.

But in the case, Spinar DSI v. U.S.(440 F.2d 1241), Mizer and others were ultimately vindicated, as that court and others around the country began to recognize nudity as not obscene, and the prior convictions of the defendants in DSI, a mailorder company, were reversed.

Tame by today’s standards, the films in the newly released DVD Bob Mizer: Court Declares Nudity Not Obscene 1967-1971 were courageously produced in the first months that male frontal nudity was legal in America. Culled from the Bob Mizer film archive−the world’s largest repository of original moving images documenting the twentieth-century underground physique movement−the eleven films in this compilation were created in the months before and immediately following a series of cases which helped redefine obscenity. Marketed to a bodybuilding audience, but widely purchased by many closeted gay men, the films in the collection were made at a critical juncture in time, from just before to just after the Stonewall riots in June 1969. It was a time when even the liberal Village Voice publication still refused to print the word “gay.” Unlike other photographers, Mizer was unashamed to attach his name to nude films, and stood up for the right to create and market erotic art to adults.

Compiled from research of Mizer’s original marketing materials and the actual camera negatives of the first nude films he produced, Bob Mizer: Court Declares Nudity Not Obscene 1967-1971 was remastered to enhance its original color and sound. The dates of production come from Mizer’s own diaries; some are exact, and other dates are approximated from notes and materials Bob kept.

From the time he established the Athletic Model Guild in 1945 until his in 1992, Mizer focused his lens on the male form — drawing ire from the religious right, law , and even the federal government. With over 3000 film masters and one million still images, Mizer’s immense body of work was instrumental in overcoming legal obstacles to censorship. The change in the laws allowed filmmakers like Mizer to gradually emerge from the underground, allowing for work previously dismissed as obscene to be recognized for its artistic value. The twentieth DVD released in the Foundation’s Americana Collection, Bob Mizer: Court Declares Nudity Not Obscene 1967-1971 celebrates this mission.

This historic collection of film captures men exploring nudity, fantasy, and frank sexuality. It also allows viewers to be witness to an important chapter in the long-fought battle for equality and freedom of expression by and for the LGBTQ community. Mizer’s artistic vision went on to influence more sexually explicit work by artists Robert Mapplethorpe and Andy Warhol, whose work was widely regarded as art from its inception, even in the face of intense controversy.

Format: mkv (Matroska)
Duration: 1:04:12
Video: 720×480, MPG2
Audio: 187kbps

File size: 2.9 GB

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