While they often presented themselves as bodybuilders’ publications, their chuckle-prompting titles — Torso, Adonis, Honcho, Mandate — didn’t lie. Gay men’s magazines of decades past were bought by gay men who wanted to look at the erotic illustrations of well- built male bodies therein. Because any- one known to possess such material in the homophobic 1950s and 1960s could experience serious consequences, men hid the magazines under their mat- tresses. These illustrations have now inspired a traveling exhibition, Stroke: From Under the Mattress to the Museum Wall. Curated by notable erotic artist Robert W. Richards and orig- inating at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, the popular show contains 24 original illustrations that ap- peared in gay magazines from the 1950s to the 1990s. It also looks at how gay men, forced into the closet during those decades, used these pictures to explore their sexuality intimately. It additionally serves as a showcase for the artists in- volved. On view are works by two dozen top artists of the times, including Touko Laaksonen (Tom of Finland), Antonio Lopez (Antonio), and David Martin.More
Seeing that it's Oscar season, motion picture and moving-body art beckons. And frankly, wed find a contemporary refraction and reinterpretation of Michelangelo Antonionis beautiful, black-and-white LAvventura irresistible any time. The visionary Italian directors sun-drenched 1960 tale of amorality and alienation offers a master class in wealthy people acting like they dont care. (Theyre numbed by boredom and vapidity, not willfully cruel like todays spoiled rich.) In Apparatus, the adventurous dance-theater troupe Smith/Wymore Disappearing Acts performs the illusion of a cast and crew shooting a film (itself a two-dimensional illusion) while Antonionis masterwork unspools. The piece includes audience interaction, so attendees play the role of collaborator, and perhaps even participant, as well as spectator. Its the best of all worlds: We get the risk and intensity of live performance, matched with the grammar of cinema that colors the way we all see and act (theres that word again) in the world.
Feb. 25-27, 8 p.m., 2011