“Stroke: From Under the Mattress to the Museum Wall” | 28th March | NYC

17th February 2014, 9:23 pm

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.

TOM OF FINLAND (Touko Laaksonen, Finnish, 1920 – 1991), Untitled, 1960, Graphite on paper, ToFF #60.11, Gift of Leonard Paoletti, Collection of Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, © 1960 Tom of Finland Foundation

TOM OF FINLAND (Touko Laaksonen, Finnish), Untitled, 1960, Graphite on paper, ToFF #60.11, Gift of Leonard Paoletti, Collection of Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, © 1960 Tom of Finland Foundation

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.”

BENOÎT PRÉVOT, John Roses, 2013, Ink and pencil on paper, 11.5 x 8.5 in. Courtesy of the artist.

BENOÎT PRÉVOT (French), John Roses, 2013, Ink and pencil on paper. Courtesy of the artist.

Included in the exhibition will be artwork by: 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).

Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art
Opening Reception: 28th March, 6-8p
Runs through 25th May


Published: 17th February 2014


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