Although few gay actors have been permitted the luxury of openness, many of them have challenged and helped reconfigure notions of masculinity and, to a lesser extent, of homosexuality.
Considering the unique set of problems facing lesbians who want to produce erotic art for the enjoyment of other lesbians, it is remarkable that so much lesbian erotica has been produced in so brief a time.
Lesbian actresses have played a significant role in Hollywood, but their contributions have rarely been recognized or spoken of openly; the "lavender marriage" is by no means a relic of the past.
Although American gay film icon Brad Davis has been described as "the first heterosexual actor to die of AIDS," he was widely known as bisexual within the entertainment community.
Long-distance swimmer and respected sports commentator has in more recent years spoken out on issues of glbtq rights.
The greatest dancer of his time, Rudolf Nureyev also gave the world a new and glamorous image of a sexually active gay man.
While nude depictions of women appear in most cultures, on both sides of the equator, and in rich variety, lesbian artists have been particularly resourceful in their use of the female nude.
Handsome, athletic, graceful, and charismatic, actor Errol Flynn was widely rumored to enjoy sexual relations with men as well as women.
Detail from an untitled work by Tom of Finland. © Tom of Finland® Foundation.
An exhibition of the art of Tom of Finland (Touko Laaksonen, 1920-1991), a pioneer in twentieth-century gay male erotic art, will be presented by the World Erotic Art Museum in Miami Beach from April 14 through July 31, 2012. The show, entitled "TOM OF FINLAND: Male Masterworks" will feature twenty paintings and drawings, some of which have never before been exhibited. The exhibition is scheduled to coincide with Pride season in Miami Beach.
Curator Volker Morlock will give a talk at the exhibition's opening, which will be held on Saturday, April 14, 2012 from 7:00 pm until midnight at the museum. Morlock has arranged the works on display chronologically to allow visitors to see the progression of the artist's style and the evolution of his choices of subjects.
Untitled, 1972 (from "In the Park") © Tom of Finland® Foundation, 1972.
In addition to the art works on display, the exhibition will include a new video tribute to the artist as well as vintage memorabilia.
Untitled ("Sailor's Dream"), 1959. © Tom of Finland® Foundation, 1959.
Glbtq contributor Ken Gonzalez-Day calls Tom of Finland an iconic artist who "has created some of the most indelible (and erotic) images of twentieth-century gay life and has fueled the fantasies of generations of gay men." His work retains its relevance and erotic punch today.
Untitled (From the "The Tattooed Sailor" series), 1962. © Tom of Finland® Foundation, 1962.
The images of Tom of Finland's work here appear with the permission of the Tom of Finland Foundation. TOM OF FINLAND® is a registered trademark of Tom of Finland Foundation, Inc. and protected under international copyright law, Geneva Convention, 1982. Tom of Finland® Foundation, Inc., Los Angeles, California USA.
The Tom of Finland® Foundation owns the copyrights to these images. They may not be copied or reproduced without the Foundation's written permission.