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
Modifying things with the hope they'll look or perform better is nothing new. Look at sports cars, body piercings and tattoos, and Pamela Anderson. An art form based on this idea is becoming more common – toy modification. You might ask, "Why do toys need modification?" Consult a 10-year-old whose plain toy tank just became remote-controlled with added power and speed (not to mention the artist who had a blast making it that way). "I Am Legion" is an exhibit of 115 modified toys, all from a company called threeA. Each artist in the exhibit was given a toy to be modified. Additions include LED lights, motors, robotic components, and paint. Some have a dark spin to them – “Black Luck-Genbu” by an artist called Crestone looks like it walked out of a post-apocalyptic nightmare. Others are more whimsical, such as “Soap Bubbles Bombaboss” by Muffinman, which is a young boy in a hooded sweatshirt blowing globular transparent bubbles made from some plastic or polymer. Organizers say some of the pieces took seven months to complete. This gallery has done toy modification classes and exhibits before, so it's the first place we look for the next big thing in customization.
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: Nov. 4. Continues through Dec. 4, 2011