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
If you think you know what an exhibition opening at the Contemporary Jewish Museum looks like, think again. Kehinde Wiley’s “The World Stage: Israel” explores black diaspora and the international phenomenon of urban youth culture, and has all the makings of an art bash: Gourmet bites inspired by the artwork, specialty cocktails, and international performances. For the first time, Ethiopian-Israeli hip-hop artist Kalkidan Mashasha performs in the Bay Area. Mashasha, who has posed for many of Wiley’s portraits, is arriving directly from the Promised Land, and he’s bringing Israeli Freestyle Champion DJ Alarm with him. For a mere $5,000, fancy people can have dinner with Wiley himself, and take a private exhibition tour. Curator Karen Tsujimoto thinks Wiley’s juxtaposition of Jewish history and contemporary Israeli life is what should draw the crowds, so if the pricey party is out of reach, visit during regular hours. Israel is the physical and symbolic intersection of Africa, Europe, and Asia, which complicates our understanding of ethnic diversity in a country smaller than the state of New Jersey. Most of us can’t visit the malls, bars, and sporting venues in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Lod to see this diversity firsthand, so take advantage of Wiley’s exhibition.
Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays-Sundays. Starts: Feb. 14. Continues through May 27, 2013