Outlaw Representation

Outlaw Representation : Censorship and Homosexuality in Twentieth-Century Art

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This text considers the relationship among homosexuality, censorship, and self-representation in American art from 1934-1990 by examining a series of historical episodes in which work by gay male artists was suppressed or censored. Beginning with Paul Cadmus's painting and ending with an exploration of the AIDS activist artwork by the collective Gran Fury, Meyer focuses particularly on the work of Cadmus, Andy Warhol, and Robert Mapplethorpe. In this well-illustrated book, Meyer documents how gay artists secured a visual language of self-representation and how that language was contested by the larger culture. Meyer reveals how the outlaw status of homosexuality itself constituted part of the pictorial languages by which gay artists signified their difference from and defiance of the mainstream.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 400 pages
  • 182.88 x 251.46 x 33.02mm | 1,292.73g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 170 halftones, 24 line illustrations
  • 0195107608
  • 9780195107609

About Richard Meyer

Richard Meyer is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Southern California.show more

Review quote

"A smartly written, intensively researched and vigilantly argued new book.... Whether analyzing a painting or the words of a political speech, Mr. Meyer comes across as a cool but engaged observer. Most important, he's a good storyteller, and he has fascinating stories to tell."--Holland Cotter, The New York Times"In Richard Meyer's subtle and informative book, nothing is quite so simple as the heroic story his title suggests....[Meyer] wants us to think about the way the possibility of art, at least when same-sex desire enters the picture, is always entangled with its own censorship."--Artforum"This genuinely groundbreaking book charts the unexpectedly productive as well as restrictive effects of queers' multiple encounters with censorship over the course of the last century. Beautifully written and illustrated, Meyer's study combines significant historical research and reflection with richly insightful interpretations of queer art to illuminate the history of twentieth-century American art and culture as a whole as well as the distinctive and little-known history of gay artists."--George Chauncey, Professor of History, University of Chicago"In Outlaw Representation: Censorship and Homosexuality in Twentieth-Century American Art, Richard Meyer crafts a brilliant and persuasive argument about the interdependence of representations of homosexuality and acts of censorship. Throughout the book, Meyer excels at close, detailed visual interpretations of images. Rigorous analyses of color, of actual paint application, of sitters' postures and their costumes all yield nuanced readings of the terms by which homosexuality is represented and censored. Meyer's text provides a sophisticated, nuanced, theoretically informed reading that is nonetheless jargon-free. To my mind, the book sets a new standard for contemporary art-historical scholarship: clear writing and persuasive and original thinking about the ways in which images function as historical agents and not mere reflections of either history or theory."--Cecile Whiting, Professor of Art History, University of California, Los Angeles"It seems fitting that the best book on the policing of sexual imagery in the twentieth century should be written by an art historian. Meyer deftly uncloaks not just the invidious ways censorship seeks to rub out the work of gay artists, but also the equally powerful ways censorship is itself creatively thematized, analyzed, and satirized by the very artists targeted for suppression. This terrifically smart and intellectually savvy book should be required bedside reading for every public official boorish enough to wage war on the resourceful and imaginative world of contemporary American art."--Diana Fuss, Professor of English, Princeton University" "A smartly written, intensively researched and vigilantly argued new book.... Whether analyzing a painting or the words of a political speech, Mr. Meyer comes across as a cool but engaged observer. Most important, he's a good storyteller, and he has fascinating stories to tell."--Holland Cotter, The New York Times "In Richard Meyer's subtle and informative book, nothing is quite so simple as the heroic story his title suggests....[Meyer] wants us to think about the way the possibility of art, at least when same-sex desire enters the picture, is always entangled with its own censorship."--Artforum "This genuinely groundbreaking book charts the unexpectedly productive as well as restrictive effects of queers' multiple encounters with censorship over the course of the last century. Beautifully written and illustrated, Meyer's study combines significant historical research and reflection with richly insightful interpretations of queer art to illuminate the history of twentieth-century American art and culture as a whole as well as the distinctive and little-known history of gay artists."--George Chauncey, Professor of History, University of Chicago "In Outlaw Representation: Censorship and Homosexuality in Twentieth-Century American Art, Richard Meyer crafts a brilliant and persuasive argument about the interdependence of representations of homosexuality and acts of censorship. Throughout the book, Meyer excels at close, detailed visual interpretations of images. Rigorous analyses of color, of actual paint application, of sitters' postures and their costumes all yield nuanced readings of the terms by which homosexuality is represented and censored. Meyer's text provides asophisticated, nuanced, theoretically informed reading that is nonetheless jargon-free. To my mind, the book sets a new standard for contemporary art-historical scholarship: clear writing and persuasive and original thinking about the ways in which images function as historical agents and not mere reflections of either history or theory."--Cecile Whiting, Professor of Art History, University of California, Los Angeles "It seems fitting that the best book on the policing of sexual imagery in the twentieth century should be written by an art historian. Meyer deftly uncloaks not just the invidious ways censorship seeks to rub out the work of gay artists, but also the equally powerful ways censorship is itself creatively thematized, analyzed, and satirized by the very artists targeted for suppression. This terrifically smart and intellectually savvy book should be required bedside reading for every public official boorish enough to wage war on the resourceful and imaginative world of contemporary American art."--Diana Fuss, Professor of English, Princeton University "A smartly written, intensively researched and vigilantly argued new book.... Whether analyzing a painting or the words of a political speech, Mr. Meyer comes across as a cool but engaged observer. Most important, he's a good storyteller, and he has fascinating stories to tell."--Holland Cotter, The New York Times "In Richard Meyer's subtle and informative book, nothing is quite so simple as the heroic story his title suggests....[Meyer] wants us to think about the way the possibility of art, at least when same-sex desire enters the picture, is always entangled with its own censorship."--Artforum "This genuinely groundbreaking book charts the unexpectedly productive as well as restrictive effects of queers' multiple encounters with censorship over the course of the last century. Beautifully written and illustrated, Meyer's study combines significant historical research and reflection with richly insightful interpretations of queer art to illuminate the history of twentieth-century American art and culture as a whole as well as the distinctive and little-known history of gay artists."--George Chauncey, Professor of History, University of Chicago "In Outlaw Representation: Censorship and Homosexuality in Twentieth-Century American Art, Richard Meyer crafts a brilliant and persuasive argument about the interdependence of representations of homosexuality and acts of censorship. Throughout the book, Meyer excels at close, detailed visual interpretations of images. Rigorous analyses of color, of actual paint application, of sitters' postures and their costumes all yield nuanced readings of the terms by which homosexuality isrepresented and censored. Meyer's text provides a sophisticated, nuanced, theoretically informed reading that is nonetheless jargon-free. To my mind, the book sets a new standard for contemporary art-historical scholarship: clear writing and persuasive and original thinking about the ways in which images function as historical agents and not mere reflections of either history or theory."--Cecile Whiting, Professor of Art History, University of California, Los Angeles "It seems fitting that the best book on the policing of sexual imagery in the twentieth century should be written by an art historian. Meyer deftly uncloaks not just the invidious ways censorship seeks to rub out the work of gay artists, but also the equally powerful ways censorship is itself creatively thematized, analyzed, and satirized by the very artists targeted for suppression. This terrifically smart and intellectually savvy book should be required bedside reading for every public official boorish enough to wage war on the resourceful and imaginative world of contemporary American art."--Diana Fuss, Professor of English, Princeton University "A smartly written, intensively researched and vigilantly argued new book.... Whether analyzing a painting or the words of a political speech, Mr. Meyer comes across as a cool but engaged observer. Most important, he's a good storyteller, and he has fascinating stories to tell."--Holland Cotter, TheNew York Times"In Richard Meyer's subtle and informative book, nothing is quite so simple as the heroic story his title suggests....[Meyer] wants us to think about the way the possibility of art, at least when same-sex desire enters the picture, is always entangled with its own censorship."--Artforum"This genuinely groundbreaking book charts the unexpectedly productive as well as restrictive effects of queers' multiple encounters with censorship over the course of the last century. Beautifully written and illustrated, Meyer's study combines significant historical research and reflection withrichly insightful interpretations of queer art to illuminate the history of twentieth-century American art and culture as a whole as well as the distinctive and little-known history of gay artists."--George Chauncey, Professor of History, University of Chicago"In Outlaw Representation: Censorship and Homosexuality in Twentieth-Century American Art, Richard Meyer crafts a brilliant and persuasive argument about the interdependence of representations of homosexuality and acts of censorship. Throughout the book, Meyer excels at close, detailed visualinterpretations of images. Rigorous analyses of color, of actual paint application, of sitters' postures and their costumes all yield nuanced readings of the terms by which homosexuality is represented and censored. Meyer's textprovides a sophisticated, nuanced, theoretically informed reading thatis nonetheless jargon-free. To my mind, the book sets a new standard for contemporary art-historical scholarship: clear writing and persuasive and original thinking about the ways in which images function as historical agents and not mere reflections of either history or theory."--Cecile Whiting, Professor of Art History, University of California, Los Angeles"It seems fitting that the best book on the policing of sexual imagery in the twentieth century should be written by an art historian. Meyer deftly uncloaks not just the invidious ways censorship seeks to rub out the work of gay artists, but also the equally powerful ways censorship is itselfcreatively thematized, analyzed, and satirized by the very artists targeted for suppression. This terrifically smart and intellectually savvy book should be required bedside reading for every public official boorish enough to wage war on the resourceful and imaginative world of contemporary Americanart."--Diana Fuss, Professor of English, Princeton Universityshow more

Rating details

58 ratings
4.36 out of 5 stars
5 55% (32)
4 28% (16)
3 16% (9)
2 2% (1)
1 0% (0)
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