Art and Homosexuality: A History of Ideas

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Oxford University Press, 2011 - Art - 285 pages
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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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Contents

An Overview
1
CHAPTER 1 VARIETIES OF HOMOSEXUALITY VARIETIES OF ART
11
CHAPTER 2 BEFORE MODERNISM
37
ART AND SEXUAL IDENTITY IN THE LATE NINETEENTH CENTURY
69
CHAPTER 4 SECRETS AND SUBCULTURES 19001940
105
CHAPTER 5 THE SHORT TRIUMPH OF THE MODERN 194065
149
CHAPTER 6 THE AVANTGARDE AND ACTIVISM 196582
179
CHAPTER 7 THE AIDS DECADE 198292
207
CHAPTER 8 QUEER AND BEYOND
229
Bibliography and Notes
257
Index
281
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About the author (2011)


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.

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