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Although sparse in images documenting the gay community, pre-Stonewall gay male photography blurs the boundaries between art, erotica, and social history.
Given the historic stigma around making, circulating, and possessing overtly homoerotic images, the visual arts have been especially important for providing a socially sanctioned arena for depicting the naked male body and suggesting homoerotic desire.
Independent films that aggressively assert homosexual identity and queer culture, the New Queer Cinema can be seen as the culmination of several developments in American cinema.
Renowned photographer, teacher, critic, editor, and curator, Minor White created some of the most interesting photographs of male nudes of the second half of the twentieth century, but did not exhibit them for fear of scandal.
The first international fashion superstar, Halston dressed and befriended some of America's most glamorous women.
An artistic movement that grew out of Dadaism and flourished in Europe shortly after World War I, Surrealism embraced the idea that art was an expression of the subconscious.
Film, stage, and television actor Paul Winfield was openly gay in his private life, but maintained public silence about his homosexuality.
New York's Museum of Modern Art's annual International Festival of Nonfiction Film and Media, a two-week showcase of documentary films, will open on February 16, 2012 with a presentation of Jim Hubbard's United in Anger: A History of ACT UP (2012), the first feature-length documentary to explore ACT UP (the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) from a historical perspective.
Produced by filmmaker Hubbard and novelist and activist Sarah Schulman, United in Anger tells the story of the vanguard AIDS activist organization that used direct action strategies in the struggle against AIDS in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The film documents the heroism and tenacity of ordinary people, while also exploring the techniques through which ACT UP created change.
The documentary grows from the ACT UP Oral History Project on which Hubbard and Schulman have been working for the past four years, interviewing surviving members of ACT UP, New York; and from the AIDS Activist Video Collection of the New York Public Library, which contains over 1000 hours of archival footage.
The film's title comes from ACT UP's statement of purpose: "ACT UP is a diverse, non-partisan group united in anger and committed to direct action to end the AIDS crisis. We protest and demonstrate; we meet with government and public health officials; we research and distribute the latest medical information; we are not silent."
In telling the story of ACT UP, the film explores the group's complex culture and attempts to capture the incredible energy and creativity of the organization, which used bold imagery and confrontational tactics to challenge the complacency of politicians and governmental officials who failed to respond adequately to a major health crisis.
Here is a trailer for the film.