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Art and Homosexuality A History of Ideas,9780195399073

Art and Homosexuality A History of Ideas

by
Format: Hardcover
Pub. Date: 5/26/2011
Publisher(s): Oxford University Press

Summary

This is the first book to fully explore the fascinating symbiosis that exists between art and homosexuality. It draws on examples that cover all the important periods in the Western art tradition, including classical, Renaissance, modern, and contemporary, but the bulk of the narrative takes place in the modern period. While manifestations of both same sex couplings and objects produced for aesthetic purposes can be traced going back to before ancient Greek civilization, it is only during the late nineteenth century that these concepts take on the meanings they carry today. The modern period saw arguments about artists and homosexuals become public, explicit, and heated, involving many of the iconic names of the day, including Ingres, Courbet, Wilde, and Whitman. The book explores how the development of new ideas about art and sexuality in the nineteenth century lead to notions of gay, lesbian, and avant-garde identities that became familiar in the twentieth, an account that includes with figures like Jasper Johns, David Hockney, and David Wojnarowicz, among many others. As the twin histories of art and homosexuality are explored, it becomes clear that the two ideas evolved and took hold in the public imagination in intimate affiliation. Both gays and artists are commonly seen as minority groups with special sensitivities and desires (indeed, being "artsy" has long been a euphemism for being gay), but the associations run much deeper. Many of the core delineations that define modern thought generally are nearly indecipherable without an understanding of this pairing. This book negotiates the cross currents of the debates surrounding art and homosexuality in a clear, unpretentious language that punctures conventional platitudes and highlights the importance of this dramatic history to the evolution of modernism. Illustrated with over 175 black & white and color images ranging from Western arts to other regional traditions, and from high culture to advertising and other forms of popular culture, Art and Homosexuality puts forward a compelling argument about the deep linkages between artists and homosexuals that reveals, among other thing, what it means to be an insider and outsider, how sexuality came to define one's fundamental humanity, and what people risk (and gain) in rejecting economic and social conformity. After reading this book, one cannot help but see artists and homosexuals in a brilliant new light. Anyone who cares about either will find in it a provocative and indispensable resource.

Author Biography


Christopher Reed is Associate Professor of English and Visual Culture at Pennsylvania State University. His previous books include Not at Home: The Suppression of Domesticity in Modern Art and Architecture and Bloomsbury Rooms: Modernism, Subculture, and Domesticity, winner of a 2005 Historians of British Art prize.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introduction. Art and Homosexuality: An Overviewp. 1
Varieties of ˘Homosexuality,÷ Varieties of ˘Art÷p. 11
Initiatory Homosexuality: The ˘Sambia÷ of New Guinea and the Ancient Greeks and Romansp. 12
Gender-Transcendent Homosexuality: Polynesia and North Americap. 19
Performative Homosexuality: Tokugawa Japanp. 28
Before Modernismp. 37
Early Christian and Medieval Europep. 38
The Renaissancep. 42
Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Europep. 54
Inventing the Modern: Art and Sexual Identity in the Late Nineteenth Centuryp. 69
Imagery at Mid-Centuryp. 73
Inventing the ˘Avant-Garde÷p. 76
Artists at Mid-Centuryp. 79
The Modern Artist as Homosexualp. 93
Aesthetes and Art Journalsp. 97
Secrets and Subcultures, 1900-1940p. 105
Echoes of Aestheticismp. 106
Avant-Garde Contingentsp. 110
Sexuality and Racep. 121
Strategies of Coding: Abstraction and Symbolsp. 126
The Limits of the Avant-Gardep. 132
The Avant-Garde and the Open Secretp. 136
The Open Secret and Mass Culturep. 142
The Short Triumph of the Modern, 1940-65p. 149
Expression and Repression in Postwar Artp. 152
Popular Imagery, Pop Art, and the Origins of Postmodernismp. 159
Camp and Criticismp. 176
The Avant-Garde and Activism, 1965-82p. 179
Art and Politicsp. 179
Feminists, Lesbians, and Female Sensibilityp. 186
Identity and Sensibilityp. 197
The Aids Decade, 1982-92p. 207
AIDS and the Avant-Gardep. 208
AIDS, Activism, and Visual Culturep. 215
Homophobia and Visual Culturep. 221
Queer and Beyondp. 229
Queerp. 231
Fragmentation from Withinp. 240
Pressure from Withoutp. 243
Working through Difference: The Black Male Nudep. 248
Bibliography and Notesp. 257
Indexp. 281
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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