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American Library Association, World War I poster, 1918

Holiday Book List · 2020

Art

Tom of Finland: The Official Life and Work of a Gay Hero

Everyone knows Tom of Finland’s work even if they don’t know his name. With his iconic pencil drawings of leatherbound and uniformed muscle hunks with oversized phalli, Tom both embodied and helped shape the aesthetic of a generation. This new edition of Tom of Finland: The Official Life and Work of a Gay Hero makes a selection of his works from the 1940s to the 1980s available in beautiful coffee table format, including many explicit and color images that were not included in the original 1993 printing.

Photography

Loving: A Photographic History of Men in Love 1850s–1950s

This beautiful volume showcases hundreds of historical photographs of male couples from the collection of Hugh Nini and Neal Treadwell.

..  >> Read more >>
Thomas Rowlandson, Champion of the People (1784)

Noteworthy Articles

“An estimated one-fifth of queer adults [in the U.S.] are not registered to vote,” writes Jennifer Finney Boylan in today’s New York Times. Yet “the fight for equality isn’t over, and can most definitely still be lost.”

While the Republican Party advocates policies hostile to LGBTQ citizens, it has a long history of courting gay voters at election time; this year’s national convention, however, failed to mention us at all. Meanwhile, Mike Pompeo is today pushing his anti-queer agenda at the United Nations, while Trump’s recently released list of possible Supreme Court nominees was criticized by Lambda Legal as “teeming with individuals who have alarming anti-LGBTQ and anti-civil rights records.”..  >> Read more >>

Diadoumenos, Roman copy of work by Polykleitos, AD 69-96

The Male Nude in Western Art

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Love it or hate it, it’s hard to deny that the male nude has taken a back seat to the female nude in the history of western art.

Female nudes outnumber male ones in major museum collections. When curators just write “nude” in a caption, they tend to mean female nude; if the subject is a man, they almost always write “male nude.” And when the Rivington Design House gallery in New York put a photograph of a nude man in the window several years ago, it caused a minor scandal.

But this was not always so...  >> Read more >>

Sargent Proust Wilde Pozzi and Montesquiou

A True Story of Gay Paris

Julian Barnes’s latest book, The Man in the Red Coat, is reviewed by noted gay author Colm Tóibín in “Shadow Selves” in the August 20, 2020, issue of The New York Review of Books.

Tóibín’s review is long and rambling, and he gets so caught up in the fascinating details that I had to turn elsewhere to answer the basic question of “What is this book?” The answer: It tells the true story of a famous Parisian gynecologist of the Belle Époque (1870-1914) named Dr. Samuel Pozzi (second from right) and of the circle of æsthetes in which he traveled...  >> Read more >>

Boston's Apollo: Thomas McKeller and John Singer Sargent

A Painter and His Muse

The show Boston’s Apollo: Thomas McKeller and John Singer Sargent opened at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum on February 13, 2020. I knew I wanted to go but figured I could wait a bit. As I write this in early June, we are in the midst of a pandemic; while the show will run through the end of September, I don’t know whether I will get to see it before it closes. Fortunately the Gardner put together a lovely catalog, so while it may not yet be possible to see the show in person, we can see the contents of the show in book form...  >> Read more >>