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
The system devised to project Yves Netzhammers video installation Furniture of Proportions is an elegant work of art in its own right. It looks like a giants flashlight, black and streamlined, but modified to throw images onto three walls instead of one. Fortunately, Netzhammers otherworldly computer animations are intriguing enough to sway our attention from the massive machinery. The eerie, pensive work consists of a parade of minimalist vignettes with a vaguely environmental theme. (The chimps and sheep behave better than the humans, but just barely.) Furniture of Proportions, with its flat palette of black, white, and gray (goosed with the occasional dash of blood or greenery) feels like serrated post-Beckett sketch comedy or, viewed through the other end of the telescope, what might be the result if Pixars sweet-tempered tycoons woke up with a case of existential angst. The work makes up one half of the exhibit Room for Thought: Alexander Hahn and Yves Netzhammer. Next door, Hahns Luminous Point utilizes computer technology to grant us a self-directed virtual tour of his New York City apartment and studio. Because the piece is both imaginary and documentary, however, it doesnt feel like were trespassing. In Room for Thought, the two Swiss artists transport us to places that seem simultaneously familiar and foreign.
July 17-Oct. 5, 2008