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
Local artist Michael Arcega tackles issues of globalization using historical icons. But once you dive into his work, such as his petroleum-based cathedral, his AK-47 made out of rice, his SPAM maps (palindrome alert!), and his 15-foot Noah's Ark hauling strips of dried meat, you begin to notice something else Arcega is a riot. Now, after logging hours at the Oceanic and Friede Collections at the de Young, Arcega brings his show "Homing Pidgin" to the same venue. His "pidgin objects" reinterpret the ancestral tools and ceremonial objects of the Oceanic collection, bringing them to the logical (at least for Arcega) present, after Western influence has had its way with the islands. Showcasing his usual regard for humor, wordplay, and obsessive craft (we're still dizzy over the seaworthy Manila galleon he made out of manila folders years back), he's topped ax-handle "war clubs" with miniature military ships, high-rise condos, and other western imports. And his "dance clubs" are topped with what else? dance clubs.
Oct. 6-Jan. 20, 2007