Defiantly out and proudly Leftist in his life and in his writing well before Stonewall, Martin Duberman has always been attracted to the rebels and troublemakers of their times. His first biography in 1961, Charles Francis Adams, won the Bancroft Prize, and his second biography in 1966 of Fireside poet James Russell Lowell was a finalist for the National Book Award. Later subjects include Paul Robeson, Black Mountain, Lincoln Kirstein (a Pulitzer finalist), his dual look at Barbara Deming and David McReynolds, and, just last year when he was 82, Howard Zinn. Surpassing his several volumes of plays and political essays, Duberman's most important legacy is his pioneering work reclaiming gay history: About Time: Exploring the Gay Past, the Lammy winner Hidden from History, and Stonewall. Just as illuminating are his three memoirs, Cures: A Gay Man's Odyssey, Midlife Queer and Waiting To Land. Duberman carried his vision beyond books and in 1991 he founded the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies [CLAGS] at CUNY and became its first director. He has been honored with lifetime achievement awards, honorary degrees, and special recognitions from many institutions including the American Historical Association, Publishing Triangle, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters for his "contributions to literature."
For an artist so often dismissed as shallow, Andy Warhol’s work remains a permanent feature of the contemporary life. The way Andy saw the world shaped what the world has become. You can’t say that about Pollock or Motherwell or Rothko or Rauschenberg or Johns (the last two of which—gay, closeted, dating each other—didn’t want to be seen with Andy because he wasn’t butch enough). You might say it about Picasso, but Picasso didn’t make movies (sixty-six shorts and features, many with Paul Morrissey) or start magazines (Interview, still being published today) or produce bands (The Velvet Underground) or have his own show on MTV or coin a phrase as widely-used and enduring as fifteen minutes of fame. Born Andrew Warhola in Pittsburgh in 1928, he was an illustrator for Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and The New Yorker before he could support himself by his art. His first submissions to galleries were drawings of male nudes that were deemed too gay; his first solo show, in 1952, was called Fifteen Drawings Based on the Writings of Truman Capote. Within four years his work was shown in a group exhibition at MoMA. In the Sixties he made his silk screens of soup cans, Marilyns, Elvises, and Jackies, and in 1968 he was shot, almost fatally. His death, in 1987, followed routine gall bladder surgery and several hospital missteps such as overloading him with fluids and failing to monitor his condition. He had avoided and postponed the operation because he did not trust doctors and hospitals. For more, read Wayne Koestenbaum's heady appreciation or plunge into Andy's Diaries.