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
Popularly known as the photographer of superb and elevated celebrity portraits-cum-magazine covers, Annie Leibovitz transforms the experience of browsing the newsstand for Condé Nast glossies into a striking aesthetic experience. At this very moment, the latest issue of Vogue bears a hotly contested cover featuring basketball player LeBron James (the first black man to appear on the magazines cover) alongside supercreature Gisele Bündchen. And theres the April issue of Vanity Fair, which hosts a fetching group portrait of comedians Tina Fey, Sarah Silverman, and Amy Poehler. Leibovitz current exhibit, Annie Leibovitz: A Photographers Life, 1990-2005, which runs through May at the Legion of Honor, includes portraits of Demi Moore very much with a bun in the oven, renowned American cultural superstar George W. Bush in the White House, photojournalistic moments from the siege of Sarajevo, and an array of piercing personal photography of Leibovitzs family and private life. Stationary grandeur of photography exhibits aside, the salient shutterbug takes on a considerably more animated, live-action role today by showing and discussing her work as the featured speaker at the 2007 Rowell Award for the Art of Adventure ceremony.
Wed., April 16, 7:30 p.m., 2008