Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art
Stroke: From Under the Mattress
To the Museum Wall
Car Park, 1999, Watercolor marker with ink on paper,
14 x 11. Collection of Leslie Lohman Museum
Reception March 28, 6:00 - 9:00 PM
Included in the exhibition will be artwork
Blade (Neel Bate), Michael Breyette, Michael Broderick, Harry Bush,
Colt (Jim French), Oliver Frey, Beau (Kevin King), Michael Kirwan,
Tom of Finland (Touko Laaksonen), Antonio (Antonio
Lopez), David Martin,
Jim McMullin, Domino (Donald Merrick), Kent (Kent Neffendorf),
Olaf (Olaf Odegaard), Mel Odom, Etienne (Dominic Orejudos),
Benôit Prévot, George Quaintance, George Stravrinos, REX,
Robert W. Richards, Richard Rosenfeld, The Hun (William Schmelling),
and Bastille (Frank Webber).
A historical retrospective of sexy and erotic illustrations
by artists who made work for Gay male magazines from the 1950s to the
1990s. Curated by New York-based illustrator Robert W. Richards, Stroke
features 80 original illustrations by 25 artists, featuring original
illustrations which appeared in the magazines, along with other works
of art that have never been seen publicly.
In the 1950s, a number of magazines became available on
drugstore magazine racks and newsstands and were distributed nationwide.
Early titles included Grecian Guild Pictorial, Tomorrow’s
Man and Physique Pictorial, and featured the work of great
artists like Tom of Finland and Bob Mizer, both who were recently the
subject of a major
exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, Los Angeles.
By the late 1960s, with the impact of the “sexual revolution,”
rise of feminism, and the Black
Cat and Stonewall Inn riots, the demand for the magazines mushroomed.
Later titles included Blueboy, Torso, Honcho, Mandate and InTouch.
Each issue typically featured masterful illustrations by major artists
such as Antonio Lopez, Mel Odom, George Stravrinos, Richard Rosenfeld
and others. Many of these artists also made work for mainstream publications
such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, New York Times and Playboy.
“This work has never been collected in one museum
exhibition before,” says Museum Director Hunter O’Hanian.
“What Robert Richards has done is pull together important work
that played a vital role in people’s lives. This exhibition is
important for people who remember the magazines. They will get to see
the some of the original illustrations they loved years ago and some
recent work. For those in their 20s and 30s, this exhibition will be
an opportunity to understand the way that Gay men explored their own
sexuality and intimacy a generation ago. Everyone will be moved by the
gloriousness of art and the impact it had on so many lives.”
New York Times Style Magazine:
"Exhibit Showcases The Erotic Beauty of Vintage
On View | The Secret History of Homoerotic Illustration
Before Abercrombie & Fitch catalogs and Lady Gaga
videos mainstreamed homoerotic imagery, some of fashion’s most
talented illustrators had shadow careers from the 1950s through the
1990s drawing for underground gay magazines such as Physique Pictorial
and, later, more overt porn glossies such as Mandate, Honcho
The Internet, with its abundance of porn, killed those
titles, but a diverse trove of illustrations from their pages will
be on display beginning Friday at the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay
and Lesbian Art in SoHo, in the winkingly titled show Stroke:
From Under the Mattress to the Museum Walls. Curated by Robert
Richards, himself a longtime illustrator of fashion and homoerotic
imagery, the show aims to exhibit “quality artwork that had
to be hidden away for many years,” says Hunter O’Hanian,
the museum’s director.
More on TOM's
Gay Magazine Art"
In the 1950s, art admirers were hard-pressed to find images of gay male life adorning the walls of major galleries and museums. Instead, the beautiful work of photographers and illustrators like Bob Mizer and Tom of Finland were often exhibited within the pages of gay magazines. Diverse depictions of private male life — particularly erotic life — were thus made available only to the people who knew where to find it.
TOM OF FINLAND (Touko Laaksonen).
Biker Fuck, 1965, Pencil on paper, 8.25 x 11.5 in. Leonard Paoletti Collection.
© Tom of Finland Foundation
More on TOM's
Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art is the first state-chartered
museum devoted to LGBTQ artists and audiences; the Museum
is a unique non-profit arts institution and is the successor
to the Leslie/Lohman Gay Art Foundation, which has been supporting
gay and lesbian visual arts for more than twenty years, actively
demonstrating that queer art exists not in a vacuum but as
an integral part of both contemporary art and art history.
The Museum has a considerable permanent collection of art,
including, Andy Warhol, Duncan Grant, Delmas Howe, Jean Cocteau,
Deni Ponty, Sonia Melara, Cassandra, Marsden Hartley, Horst,
Bastille, Blade, Tom of Finland, Michael Kirwan, and many
Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art
Gallery Hours: Tuesday - Sunday, 12 - 6 PM
Closed on Mondays, major holidays and between shows.
26 Wooster Street, New York, NY 10013 · Map
Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art Website