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
Have you ever seen a car so sexy that you wanted to run your hands all over it, maybe even stretch out luxuriously on the hood? The Jaguars, Corvettes, and even the Edsel in Cheryl Kelley’s series “Detailed” are those kinds of cars. These objects are impressive enough, but when you consider that you are admiring not elegantly composed photos but oil paintings, they are even more breathtaking. Along with pinup and boudoir photography, the dominion of male artists over car art is being left in the dust. While Robert Bechtle paints photorealistic automobiles in their natural, middle-class habitats, Kelley takes them out of context, removing their utilitarian role and elevating them to works of art, freeing her to infuse them with hyperrealistic detail. She works from photographs taken at car shows and museums. Rather than filter out the surroundings reflected in the windows and slick paint jobs, she embraces it, reproducing the mirror images of vehicles beside them as well as steel beams overhead and sometimes bystanders. Rather than distracting, the result accentuates curves and aerodynamic lines while immersing the viewer in the scene. “Detailed” promises to be one bitchin’ ride for tonight’s First Thursday art crawl.
Tuesdays-Saturdays. Starts: June 7. Continues through June 30, 2012