The queer artist J. C. Leyendecker (1874–1951) helped shape American visual culture of the early 20th century through his countless illustrations for popular magazines like the Saturday Evening Post and advertisements for consumer goods. His trade character for Cluett Peabody & Company, the “Arrow Collar Man,” was a sex symbol for men and women alike. This exhibition takes a close look at the implications of Leyendecker’s queer gaze underlying the construction of masculinity for the mass market, analyzing his depictions of the male body and his images of male interactions, often of men sharing sexually charged looks. Under Cover also offers counter-narratives to Leyendecker’s ideal of white, elite, and athletic male beauty, juxtaposing some of his paintings with artifacts, ephemera, and photographs that, for example, depict fashionable African American men during the Harlem Renaissance. Drawing from the National Museum of American Illustration’s extensive collection of Leyendecker materials, the exhibition features 19 paintings as well as advertisements and magazine covers. Guest curated by Donald Albrecht and coordinated by Rebecca Klassen, curator of material culture at New-York Historical
April 30th, 2023
August 13th, 2023
New York Historical Society
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