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
Mashing up different world cuisines is usually a popular conceit for new quick-service eateries and food trucks to make a quick buck and gain Instagram fame, but Volta has shown how well global cross-pollination works on a refined plate without stretching for novelty or pretense in the process.
On May 4, 2007, a tornado destroyed 95 percent of Greensburg, Kansas, a small city that had previously been best known as home to the world's largest hand-dug well. The devastation drew photographers from all over the world, including Larry Schwarm, known for his prize-winning photos of prairie fires. For Schwarm, however, this wasn't just another assignment: He grew up in Greensburg. His large-scale color photos of his hometown post-tornado, on display now at the exhibit "Aftermath," document a city turned inside-out. The children's book section of the county library sprawls between knocked-down walls. A closet, its contents strangely still neatly on hangers, stands bereft beneath a stripped roof. Clothing floats ghostly in trees. In "Aftermath," Schwarm's photographs are aptly paired with Debbie Fleming Caffery's black-and-white images of Louisiana after hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Many of Caffery's photos are peopled with survivors, their faces suffused with shock, their painted declarations ("We R Alive") testament to miracles. These are the people we left behind. Thanks to Caffery, their survival is assured, at least on celluloid.
Dec. 28-Jan. 26, 2007