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The Sexual Perspective by Emmanuel Cooper
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The Sexual Perspective (original 1986; edition 1986)

by Emmanuel Cooper

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1091110,750 (4.1)None
Member:thecenterwest
Title:The Sexual Perspective
Authors:Emmanuel Cooper
Info:Rivers Oram Press/Pandora List (1986), Paperback, 320 pages
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The sexual perspective: homosexuality and art in the last 100 Years in the West by Emmanuel Cooper (1986)

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The Sexual Perspective - Homosexuality and the Last 100 Years in the West. Published 1986. ISBN 0710096356 Paperback 9" x 6" (22.6 cm x 15.2 cm)

This book has been revised and updated and republished in 1994; the review here is for the original publication of 1986. (Beware that Amazon often link different editions of a book.)

Emanuel Cooper provides a survey of the work of many artists who according to the book cover "were or are homosexual, or had significant homosexual experiences". Although concentrating on the last 100 years by way of introduction he looks back to the Renaissance. He considers such aspects as sexual aesthesis, the sexual code, and looks at influences such as the Greeks, and at changing legal and social attitudes. In his discussions Cooper considers both the lives of the artists and their work. The book includes notes and an index but there is no bibliography.

The list of artists includes: Donatello, Botticelli, da Vinci, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, John Singer Sargent, Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer, Gustave Moreau, Aubrey Beardsley, Gwen John, Charles Demuth, Marsden Hartley, Jean Cocteau, Christopher Wood, Duncan Grant, Tamara de Lempicka, Edward Burra, Paul Cadmus, John Minton, Keith Vaughan, Francis Bacon, Quaintance, Andy Warhol, Michael Leonard, Philip Core, Delmas Howe, Gilbert and George and many more.

The book is illustrated throughout with 130 monochrome images. It is a serious consideration of the subject; the survey covers a wide range including a few sculptors, photographers such as Mapplethorpe as well as those one might consider illustrators such as Tom of Finland. It also includes some such as Henry Scott Tuke who not all would agree fit the stated aims of the book, scholars of Tuke questioning any homosexual inclinations. Some may question on similar grounds the inclusion of other artists here, but that in no way devalues their art. Yet there is no mention of Fairfield Porter, who while married carried on a long term relationship with poet James Schuyler. There are a couple of chapters on lesbian art (the revised 1994 edition expands on this and also includes responses to AIDS).

To describe this book as the publishers do as "lavishingly and seductively illustrated" is something of an exaggeration, the pictures can at best described as informative and the rarity value of some makes them worthwhile, but the book is not large in format and few of the images attain to full page, and many of them in monochrome appear decidedly dull. But they are enough maybe to encourage the reader to search out decent reproductions. ( )
  presto | Apr 25, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0415111013, Perfect Paperback)

First published in 1986 to wide critical acclaim, The Sexual Perspective broke new ground by bringing together and discussing the painting, sculpture and photography of artists who were gay/lesbian/queer/bisexual. The lavishly illustrated new edition discusses the greater lesbian visibility within the visual arts and artist's responses to the AIDS epidemic. Emmanuel Cooper places the art in its artistic, social and legal contexts, making it a vital contribution to current debates about art, gender, identity and sexuality.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:28:11 -0400)

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