The Queer Encyclopedia of the Visual Arts

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9781573441919: The Queer Encyclopedia of the Visual Arts

A distinctly queer presence permeates the history of the visual arts — from Michelangelo's David and homoerotic images on ancient Greek vases to Frida Kahlo's self-portraits and the photography of Claude Cahun and Robert Mapplethorpe. The Queer Encyclopedia of the Visual Arts is a comprehensive work showcasing the enormous contribution of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer artists to painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, sculpture, and architecture.

International in scope, the volume includes overviews of the various periods in art history, from Classical Art to Contemporary Art and from African Art to Erotic and Pornographic Art; discussions of topics ranging from AIDS Activism in the Arts, Censorship in the Arts, and the Arts and Crafts Movement to Pulp Paperbacks and Their Covers; surveys of the representation of various subjects in the visual arts, from Androgyny to Vampires; and biographical entries on significant figures in the history of art, such as Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, El Greco, Leonardo da Vinci, David Hockney, Ruth Bernhard, Rosa Bonheur, Romaine Brooks, Simeon Solomon, and Nahum Zenil. Includes more than 100 illustrations and photographs.

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About the Author:

CLAUDE J. SUMMERS, Professor Emeritus in the Humanities at the University of Michigan–Dearborn, is the editor of The Queer Encyclopedia of the Music, Dance and Musical Theater and The Gay and Lesbian Literary Heritage. The general editor of glbtq.com, he lives in New Orleans.

From Booklist:

As stated in the introduction, this encyclopedia "offers a revisionist art history, one that places the achievements of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer artists in historical contexts and that privileges the representation of subjects that have traditionally been censored or marginalized." The first book from the online encyclopedia http://www.glbtq.com attempts to accomplish this through 200 signed entries that are accompanied by bibliographic information and cross-references. Like any well-executed encyclopedia, it provides a sound overview of the topic at hand while encouraging and supporting further exploration.

The introduction further states that "there is real value in seeing queer art in its own terms as an expression of a queer artistic impulse and as a documentation of queer experience." The value to a gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender reader seeking context for her or his own sexuality may be profound. Works such as this can be very helpful as sources of reliable information for readers trying to understand the complexities of identity as well as cultural and historical invisibility.

The scope is international, and most entries are several paragraphs in length; many extend over multiple pages. Photographer and jewelry sculptor Laurie Toby Edison, transsexual artist Lili Elbe (formerly Einar Wegener), and architect Philip Johnson are a few examples of artists found in this rich text. Several broad topics are included, among them Erotic and pornographic art: gay male; Erotic and pornographic art: lesbian; Photography: gay male, post-Stonewall; Photography: lesbian, post-Stonewall. Entries concerning images such as the rainbow flag and the covers of pulp paperbacks are a nice addition. However, one curiously omitted image is the labrys, a goddess symbol that has significance for lesbians. There are also geographically tied subjects such as Canadian art, Japanese art, and Native American art. Approximately 80 black-and-white illustrations accompany the text.

The reader can look forward to friendly navigation through the text, facilitated by an index of names, an A-Z list of entries, and a topical index. Recommended for public, high-school, and college libraries. Scottie Wallace
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Editorial: Cleis Press (2004)
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