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
Many rock posters are better than the shows they promote. For example, take Chuck Sperry and Ron Donovans poster promoting Bushs 1997 gig at the Maui Cultural Center. It nearly justified the bands career. Same goes for their poster of a Pearl Jam appearance at the Virgin Megastore, which, aside from the Pearl Jam theme, is impeccable. Not all bands, however, get upstaged by their promotional materials, and Sperry and Donovan have also made a ton of posters for exactly these sorts of bands. The results are spectacular something to press under acid-free glass and hang on your wall for eternity, or until your spouse tells you it's time to put the fucking Sonic Youth poster in the garage. Even then, however, Sperry and Donovan still have you covered, since they also make art that promotes nothing except themselves fine art. The work resembles their posters, all bold colors and strong wavy lines. At "Signs of Change: Chuck Sperry & Ron Donovan, they haul out these originals, as well as a collection of posters for recent shows in the city. After a lifetime of celebrating bands, and nearly 10 years after teaming up to form the Firehouse Kustom Rockart Company in Oakland, this duo deserves the spotlight.
Jan. 16-Feb. 14, 2009