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
Imprisonment is part of the American experience. With the decline of farming, mining, and manufacturing, prisons represent a rare growth industry in the heartland: We have 2,304,270 and counting behind bars. District legislators legally count inmates as constituents, and use the Census to siphon federal funding out of urban communities into rural prison towns. "Criminal: Art and Criminal Justice in America" faces the growing epidemic of imprisonment and explores its human toll through artwork made on either side of the walls. Julie Green's "The Last Supper" is a series of plates depicting the final meals of 383 prisoners condemned to death. Deborah Luster's "One Big Self: Prisoners of Louisiana" captures the portraits of inmates in aluminum. William Pope.L's "Setting the Table" puts the faces of alleged 9/11 terrorists on slices of bologna and, literally, hangs them out to dry. And Rigo 23's latest commission, "CRIMINAL/VICTIM," employs products made by real California prisoners. On March 1, a symposium with panels and workshops led by artists, activists, and prominent scholars in the field of criminal justice features a keynote address delivered by one-time Black Panther and real-time UCSC Professor of History of Consciousness Angela Y. Davis.
Feb. 16-March 15, 2008