The Easel

6th July 2021

Paul Cadmus and the Censorship of Queer Art

Art has long been a carrier of coded messages. Employed to capture “the American scene”, Cadmus painted The Fleet’s In in 1934. It’s satirical image of drunk, flirtatious sailors with sexualized bodies caused a scandal. Homoeroticism, a clear element of the painting, went unmentioned, presumably because homosexuality was a topic absent from mainstream discourse. The Navy protested it was “not true to the Navy”. Well, not all the Navy.