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Staff Report

NEW YORK, 20 May 2005óThe month of June has for some years been a time when rainbow flags, parades, circuit parties, gay games and assorted events dot the landscape in most major cities in the US and Europe.Two events opening this weekend in New York herald the coming of one more such season. The first begs the question: What do Alexander the Great, Gertrude Stein, J  Edgar Hoover and Andy Warhol have in common? Plenty, according to Exit Art, the contemporary art center's Homomuseum: Heroes and Moments which opens in New York tomorrow.

Conceptualized by Exit Art co-founders, Jeanette Ingberman and Papo
Colo and curated by Jodi Hanel, Homomuseum aims to provide a multi-faceted glimpse into the lesbian / gay / bisexual / transgender (LGBT) icons and histories that shape contemporary art and mainstream culture today.

The Homomuseum takes its title from the curatorial idea of an imaginary national art museum  dedicated to the presentation and historicizing of art created by LGBT artists. Homomuseum presents the visions and stories of LGBT artists, in the post-Mapplethorpe and post-AIDS activism of the 1980s. On view until 31 July, Homomuseum includes an exhibition, video programme, performance series and archive project.

The visual art exhibition features interdisciplinary work by twenty-seven LGBT artists who created conceptual portraits of homosexual individuals that have influenced culture or works that are founded in a historical moment in gay history.

Mary Ellen Strom: Nude No. 5, Eleanor Dubinsky and Melanie Maar
2004; 53 x 78"
Video installation with images of original paintings
Edition of 5
Photo courtesy of Exit Art

Among the archival objects included in the show are a set of video tapes that document Ethyl Eichelbergerís drag performances, a compilation of early 20th century brothel photographs of young male prostitutes, a script from a play about the queer director Dorothy Arzner, a documentary by a woman recording her friendís last days as he lies dying of AIDS,  and letters and newspaper clippings researching the persecution of gays and lesbians under Nazi occupation.

In a five-week video program, feature length documentaries present various aspects of contemporary gay life; from homeless transvestite prostitutes to racism confronting black gay men to same sex marriage.

Lesbian performance and music will complement the exhibition and fill Exit Artís space for several nights in June.

Meanwhile, the LA-based Tom of Finland Foundation will present the fifth edition of its Erotic Arts Fair Weekend in New York where 45 artists from the US and Europe will show and sell homo-masculine art in a variety of media including paintings, drawings, sculpture, digital art and photography.

The three-day event includes artist receptions, life figure drawing & photography sessions, benfit parties and a panel discussion on Sunday afternoon entitled "Tom of Finland's Importance to Culture" where academics, artists and contemporary art critics assess the impact of Finnish artist
Touko Laaksonen's (1920 - 1991) hyper-masculine, military boots and leather homoerotic art on mainstream popular culture.

Tom of Finland, rough sketch, 1983
16 9/16" x 11 3/4"
graphite on paper
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Photo courtesy of Tom of Finland Foundation

The Finnish Museum of Contemporary Art, The Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art are among the major museums that have acquired Tom of Finland works.  In addition, 
six works by Tom of Finland have been purchased recently by the Julia Rothschild Foundation, to be included in a collection of 1,500 significant drawings being compiled by the Rothschild Foundation, to be donated to the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York in 2006. 

Erotic Art Fair Weekend: 20 - 22 May 2005
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Services Center
208 West 13th Street, New York, NY 10011
(1) 212 620 73 10
Tom of FInland Foundation Web Site

Homomuseum: Heroes and Moments
21 May - 31 July 2005
Exit Art
475 Tenth Avenue
New York, NY 10018
Tel: (1) 212 966 77 45
Exit Art Web Site

Related Stories in Culturekiosque Art and Archaeology Archives:

Mapplethorpe and Mannerism

Visual Database of Work by Artists with HIV/AIDS

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