“Keep everyone afraid and they’ll consume.” — Marilyn Manson UNTIL LATE in the 20th century, gay men were almost as invisible in the media as lesbians. We began to be discovered by corporate America some time in the mid-1970’s, and by the 1990’s we were being treated as an important target market. The […]
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Stephan Likosky shares his findings regarding this important episode in queer history as it is reflected on postcards, which were an early medium by which ordinary people could learn about current events and be exposed to new ideas. Indeed, the importance of postcards cannot be overstated.
NAKED OR NUDE, the human body has been a source of creative inspiration in all forms of visual art and performance, from painting and sculpture to theater, film, performance and body art, digital art, and live political activism.
CULTURAL TRANSFORMATIONS swept across this country in the mid-20th century, affecting every aspect of American life, including the arts. A new wave of outsider artists underscored the mood of restlessness through powerful photography and filmmaking.
IN A CORRIDOR within the British Museum is Cupboard 55, an antique wooden cabinet numbered with a bronze plaque, containing more than 1,100 objects itemized into a registry and sequestered into an archive. It was created in 1865 and known as the Museum Secretum. Until the 1960s, the Secret Museum was a storeroom of erotica from the ancient world, including Asian, Egyptian, Greek, Near Eastern, and Roman artifacts. Many of them were objects of worship, such as pre-Christian fertility gods and goddesses. Also concealed in the cupboard were phallocentric objects, wax votive phalluses from churches in Isernia, Italy, and 8th- and 9th-century animal membrane condoms in original paper wrappers and tied with silk ribbons at the open end.
It was against this backdrop that the museum acquired the Warren Cup, a 1st-century masterpiece of Roman art from the Julio-Claudian dynasty that depicted unambiguous homoeroticism.
Last year was marked by a number of extraordinary breakthroughs in the political arena, but 2003 was also a year of cultural milestones, with many “firsts” for gay men and lesbians in the mainstream media. Here are a few of the ones most talked about:
THE ENCYCLOPEDIC Art and Queer Culture contains 250 artworks and a documents section that crisscross over more than a century and a quarter. The storyline is the emergence of same-sex relatedness as a definable identity.
THE THIRTIETH ANNIVERSARY of the AIDS epidemic was commemorated last year in two issues of this magazine, which covered the crisis from a range of perspectives-political activism, cultural expressions, scientific developments-but there was no mention of the various AIDS memorials that have emerged and evolved over the years. In fact, there are quite a few such memorials throughout the United States. …
Marketers of men’s underwear and swimwear added to the emerging trends of the sexualized male with new styles specifically designed for erotic exhibitionism. Prior to 1950, men’s swimwear always concealed the navel, even though rubberized Lastex yarns shaped and articulated the genital bulge below. In the early 1950’s, though, styles of men’s swimwear began to reveal more skin. Some inched below the navel, peek-a-boo cutaways bared the hips, and the male bikini made its first appearance on American beaches.
This article focuses on commercially produced postcards that were printed in large numbers and circulated widely throughout the world. Real photo postcards, in contrast, whether produced by professional or amateur photographers, also provide valuable insights into social history but were most often printed in limited numbers, and their images can be difficult if not impossible to identify. … The postcards reproduced here are from my personal collection, and my hope is that they will offer a flavor of the shifting sex and gender ideas of this era.