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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.
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.