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
Brand-new buildings get photographed for glossy real estate brochures and corporate literature. Its not art, exactly, but it nets a paycheck. Add a handful of hard-worn decades, the total failure of an American industry, and photographer Katherine Westerhout, however, and youll end up with some achingly beautiful art. In a 2008 exhibit in S.F., Westerhout featured large-scale pictures of a smattering of Detroits famed abandoned buildings an aquarium, a boat club, a few theaters. It was strong stuff, freighted with meaning; the buildings were beautiful in their last days, old stars slowly falling apart, with little chance for recovery. For Rust Belt, she adds Buffalo and Philadelphia to the mix, which have no shortage of blasted structures grain elevators, Eastern State Penitentiary ready for one last close up.
Jan. 16-Feb. 27, 2010