Gorgeous Gallery, by David Leddick, is the first art book of its kind to combine what is considered “popular” sexual art with “fine” art and recently just sold out on Amazon.com in only two weeks, but fret not as a new batch is printing as I write this…
“Gorgeous Gallery” by Gay Art Chronicler
First Collection of Its Kind
Gorgeous Gallery, by David Leddick, is the first art book of its kind to combine what is considered “popular” sexual art with “fine” art and recently just sold out on Amazon.com in only two weeks, but fret not as a new batch is printing as I write this. Published by Bruno Gmunder now in worldwide release, the 160‐page volume presents a collection spanning three genres, which Leddick defines as:
1.) The classic “gay spirit” of the 20th century
2.) Trend‐setting contemporary gay artists at their most sexual
3.) A newer group of avant-garde gay artists largely unseen until now
“This book goes further visually than any previous homoerotic art book,” says Leddick. “It is more graphic and more sexual than any previous collection, because now it’s the 21st century where powerful sex and art can exist in one work.” Leddick’s introduction to the book presents the case that there are many similar examples of sexual art from the past. The new book shows how historically, artists have almost always portrayed homoerotic images of sexy men, meant to be enjoyed by other men. “A book like this has never existed before. There are many paintings in this collection that have never been presented in an art book,” adds Leddick.
David Leddick is an author, playwright and actor. He has 22 books published: many photography books about the male nude (including one of Taschen’s top-ten bestsellers, “The Male Nude”), and the second edition of “In the Spirit of Miami Beach” (from Assouline Books). Leddick has published six novels and a biography of gay art figures from the 1930s and 1940s, called “Intimate Companions.”
He was born in 1930, and after graduating from the University of Michigan served as an officer in the U.S. Navy. He was at Bikini Atoll during the hydrogen bomb testings. Leddick moved to New York in the 1950s, and was a ballet dancer. He was with the Metropolitan Opera where he appeared onstage with great Divas such as Maria Callas. Leddick has worked in advertising as the Worldwide Creative Director for Revlon in New York, and as International Creative Director for L’Oreal in Paris, through the 1970s and 1980s. He created some of the era’s most iconic beauty campaigns (including the groundbreaking TV commercial for Jontue fragrance).
He began a new career at the age of 65 as a writer, creating male nude photography books and writing novels. Resuming his theater career at the age of 70, he has written the scripts and lyrics for a number of musicals and plays he has performed throughout the U.S., Europe and South America. Now in his 80s and living in Miami Beach, Leddick wants to write about reporting back from what he calls the “uncharted territory of aging.”
He considers living in his 80s to be the new late middle-age: “After romantic relationships and living life to the fullest through my 70s, I feel like I have gone out into an unknown frontier from which no one has reported back. I call everyone who is over 65 a ‘Sextennial,’ says Leddick. “We are all going to share a new, rich experience in this last third of our lives – a productive and exciting time which has never existed historically before.”
It was a pleasure to talk with David and have him answer a few questions for this exclusive Hotspots feature.
- You seem to have lived the life of 3 people and have had so many careers. What was your favorite and why?
I have lived many different places and done many different occupations but I must say I prefer none over my present life of writing and acting. I love to think of something and then write it and have it published. It’s like creating something from nothing, and the performing similarly. You think of something and then perform. I love doing our shows in Fort Lauderdale. I feel a strong connection every time I have the pleasure of producing one of my shows in Fort Lauderdale – great audiences.
- At the age of 65 you became a writer. How did this come about?
I had just come out of a busy period of working as an advertising writer and creative director. I was Worldwide Creative Director for Revlon in New York for many years, then for L’Oreal in Paris. At 65, I decided I did not want to play golf. I had an apartment in Miami Beach. I loved it here. So I sat down and wrote my first novel, “My Worst Date,” loosely based on some people I knew here during South Beach’s peak as a gay enclave. It’s about a 16-year-old who works as a male stripper to earn money to go to college. And has an affair with his mother’s boyfriend. Not an impossible scenario in Miami Beach.
- What makes “Gorgeous Gallery” a must buy?
“Gorgeous Gallery” is really not like any book that has been done before. It collects paintings and drawings from the last 100 years that are very homoerotic. It is more “out there” and sexually graphic than any similar art books done in the past. And it is all 100% fine art. The book proves that fine art and erotic art can exist in the very same work.
- What would people be surprised to know about you?
Would people be surprised that I have great legs? Maybe not, as I was a dancer at one time. I still go to ballet class every week. While in ballet class, I look in the mirror and think, “Is there anyone else my age on this planet still in ballet classes?
- What’s ahead for David Leddick?
I have a batch of new books coming, including “How to Hit 70 Doing 100,” a photo-text book paired up with “Sexcercise at Seventy.” My new novel, “Meaningless Hugs, Meaningless Kisses” just went under contract with my new publisher, The University of Wisconsin Press which features a vibrant, new LGBT publishing arm that focuses on gay biographies. It’s about a gay man’s romances in his 70s. Currently, I am writing my “Mad Men” era advertising memoirs, called “We Offered Them Caviar” (after a grueling meeting with Revlon, who was voted the “worst client in the U.S.” every year in the advertising trades, I’d come back to my staff and say, “We offered them caviar but they wanted peanut butter. So we will give them peanut butter”). I am also in New York a lot working on a new concept for an Off-Broadway musical called “Rentboy: The Musical” adapted from my book “Escort.” We are considering the tagline: “Everyone On Stage Is For Sale.” It’s a lot of fun. I think it will do well. Songs include “That’ll Be A Little Bit More” and “Who Invented The Jockstrap?
About the new book:
Gorgeous Gallery is a hardcover with dust jacket. 8½ x 11¼ʺ (US$ 52.99) with artworks by 47 artists including: Andy Warhol, David Hockney, Don Bachardy, Peter Flinsch, Wes Hempel, Michael Leonard, Mark Beard (Bruce Sargeant), Neel Bate, Paul Cadmus and many more and is available for purchase at Amazon.com and search for Gorgeous Gallery.