Art and Homosexuality: A History of Ideas

Art and Homosexuality: A History of Ideas

Hardback

By (author) Christopher Reed

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
  • Format: Hardback | 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 175mm x 257mm x 28mm | 953g
  • Publication date: 23 June 2011
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0195399072
  • ISBN 13: 9780195399073
  • Illustrations note: 178 b/w & color illus.
  • Sales rank: 229,538

Product description

Lavishly illustrated with over 175 black-and-white and color images that range from high to popular culture and from Ancient Greece to contemporary America, Christopher Reed's arresting book reveals the deep linkages between art and homosexuality as we understand those terms. This is the first book to fully explore the interdependence between the identity of the artist and the homosexual. It offers a bold, globe-spanning narrative that draws on artwork from all the important periods in the Western tradition, including classical, Renaissance, and contemporary, with special focus on the modern period. It was in the nineteenth century that the identities of the avant-garde artist and the homosexual took shape, and almost as quickly overlapped. The figures involved-Ingres, Courbet, Wilde, Whitman-are among that era's most iconic artists. The development of twentieth-century art-exemplified in the work of figures like Gertrude Stein, Jasper Johns, David Hockney, and David Wojnarowicz-this book argues is simply not understandable apart from the concurrent development of ideas about sexual identity. This highly readable volume challenges the ideas of many prominent art critics and punctures the platitudes surrounding discussions of both art and sexuality. The book discusses 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. Reed shows that many of the core ideas that define modern thought more generally are nearly indecipherable without an understanding of this pairing. The debates that have surrounded artists and homosexuals in effect capture the dramatic history of the evolution of the modern mind.

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Author information

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.

Review quote

"It's not the first book on the subject, but 'Art and Homosexuality: A History of Ideas' is certainly among the best."--Los Angeles Times Culture Monster blog"Reed's book carries forward a long-overdue reckoning that began in a very public and controversial way with the exhibition 'Hide/Seek' at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery late last year."--Philip Kennicott, The Washington Post"Art and Homosexuality succeeds brilliantly at addressing the profound question: Why have art and sexual variation been linked for so long, across so many cultures, and in such disparate ways? Reed's perceptive interpretations of artists and works build one upon the next, offering a forceful argument while also weaving a fascinating new social history."--James Saslow, author of Pictures and Passions: A History of Homosexuality in the Visual Arts"Christopher Reed's groundbreaking and long overdue discussion of the historically intertwined relationship of artistic and homosexual identities is smart, intensively researched, beautifully written and illustrated. His thoughtful interpretation of events and superb visual analysis of individual artworks, make Art and Homosexuality central to any discussion of contemporary art. An excellent teaching resource, it belongs on every reading list and in every library."--Harmony Hammond, author of Lesbian Art in America: A Contemporary History"This is an extremely thorough and timely addition to the literature on homosexuality and art. Wide-ranging and handsomely illustrated, it is also appropriately controversial"--Simon Watney, author of Imagine Hope: AIDS and Gay Identity"Art and Homosexuality offers a brilliant and accessible account of the complex links between art and sexuality. With case studies drawn from societies around the world, attention to lesbian, as well as gay, artists and audiences, and its demolishment of longstanding orthodoxies, Art andHomosexuality is destined to become the go-to bo

Table of contents

1. VARIETIES OF 'HOMOSEXUALITY'; VARIETIES OF 'ART'. INITIATORY HOMOSEXUALITY: THE 'SAMBIA' OF NEW GUINEA & ANCIENT GREECE AND ROME. GENDER-TRANSCENDENT HOMOSEXUALITY: POLYNESIA & NORTH AMERICA. PERFORMATIVE HOMOSEXUALITY: TOKUGAWA JAPAN ; 2. BEFORE MODERNITY. EARLY CHRISTIAN AND MEDIEVAL EUROPE. THE RENAISSANCE. 17TH- AND 18TH-CENTURY EUROPE ; 3. INVENTING THE MODERN: ART AND SEXUAL IDENTITY IN THE LATE- NINETEENTH CENTURY. IMAGERY AT MID-CENTURY. INVENTING THE AVANT-GARDE. ARTISTS AT MID-CENTURY. THE MODERN ARTIST AS HOMOSEXUAL. AESTHETES AND ART JOURNALS ; 4. SECRETS AND SUBCULTURES, 1900-1940. ECHOES OF AESTHETICISM. AVANT-GARDE CONTINGENTS. SEXUALITY AND RACE. STRATEGIES OF CODING: ABSTRACTION AND SYMBOLS. THE LIMITS OF THE AVANT-GARDE. THE AVANT-GARDE AND THE OPEN SECRET. THE OPEN SECRET AND MASS CULTURE ; 5. THE SHORT TRIUMPH OF THE MODERN: 1940-1965. EXPRESSION AND REPRESSION IN POST-WAR ART. POPULAR IMAGERY, POP ART, AND THE ORIGINS OF POSTMODERNISM. CAMP AND CRITICISM ; 6. THE AVANT-GARDE AND ACTIVISM: 1965-1982. ART VS. POLITICS. FEMINISTS, LESBIANS, AND FEMALE SENSIBILITY. IDENTITY AND SENSIBILITY ; 7. THE AIDS DECADE: 1982-1992. AIDS AND THE AVANT-GARDE. AIDS, ACTIVISM, AND VISUAL CULTURE. HOMOPHOBIA AND VISUAL CULTURE ; 8. QUEER AND BEYOND. QUEER. FRAGMENTATION FROM WITHIN. PRESSURE FROM WITHOUT. WORKING THROUGH DIFFERENCE: THE BLACK MALE NUDE