Inside The Met’s Secret Gay Art Collection

At the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Andrew Lear guides our correspondent through a cornucopia of statues and pictures, thrumming with same-sex desire.


Photo Illustration by Sarah Rogers/The Daily Beast

If there was any doubt that New Yorkers would flock to make a homoerotic lap around one of the world’s preeminent art institutions, it was swiftly quashed by an overeager crowd of Ivy Leaguers.

In mid-February, art historian and professor Andrew Lear hosted a preview of an upcoming gay-themed tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a Princeton-hosted Ivy Alumni group. When double the number of visitors that could comfortably navigate the halls showed up, he had to split the visit into two tours.

CaptureLear launched his company, Oscar Wilde Tours, last year with the vision of launching luxury gay-focused trips across Europe. In 2014, he brought a group to visit the tour’s namesake sites: traveling to Wilde’s haunts from Dublin to London to Paris. And now, Lear has set his sights on New York City, where he’ll launch a series of new tours in April to reclaim a gay history he believes to be underappreciated.

The Ivy crowd that previewed the Met tour may have been a special interest group, but the interest was enough to show Lear that his company motto direly needed revision. So, to encompass the wider swath of customer he hopes to attract, he changed it from “Gay history for gay travelers” to “Traveling through gay history.”



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