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
Much is made about our city's storied history in subversive art, with iconic groups like the Billboard Liberation Front, Survival Research Laboratories, the Cacophony Society, and the Suicide Club. A group in Paris, however, gives all of it a run for its money, if not a shellacking. Meet the secretive Paris Urban eXperiment, aka the UX. It came into being in 1981, when the group came across (stole) plans detailing Paris' numerous underground passages, catacombs, and tunnels, and went exploring. Then UX started throwing events down below: staging plays, throwing up a movie theater and a bar, serving guests at a restaurant. The group also -- and here UX becomes part of the holy underground -- began restoring stuff. Fixing things. Often stuff the French government would have liked to fix but didn't have the money for, like the Wagner clock at the Panthéon, which one morning, after 40 years, simply started to chime. That's lovely. The group is supposedly behind 15 such covert restorations, most of which we know little about -- the French police have a unit dedicated to UX, after all. The group is intensely secretive, but tonight you can get a peek under the curtain at the talk “Preservation without Permission: The Paris Urban eXperiment," in which UX's spokesman, Lazar Kunstmann (probably not his real name, because it means "art man" in German), appears tonight with Wired's Jon Lackman, who wrote about UX for the magazine.
Tue., Nov. 13, 7:30 p.m., 2012