28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Jonathan Weinberg approaches the topic of MALE DESIRE: THE HOMOEROTIC IN AMERICAN ART with the requisite credentials to support this fine book in any art circle. Not only is he a fine painter (unfortunately this book includes only one of the author's paintings), but he is an art historian of note, having served as both scholar and artist in residence at the Getty Center in Los Angeles and as recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship in 2002. Weinberg writes well, always with authority but with concurrent warmth that makes his presentation more like a fascinating novel than an art historian treatise.
After a terse but informative introduction explaining 'Male Desire' and the précis for this book, Weinberg divides his survey of art in all forms spanning from 1884 to 2003 in to seven interesting approaches: Water, The Man in Uniform, I Want Muscle, Measurement and Circles, Collaborators, The New Adam, and finally, The Age of Aids. In each chapter he shows the evolution of technique, social approach to male art, and individual artists who either painted homoerotic paintings or championed them or (in most cases) both. Weinberg tactfully uses references from artists' statements when possible and while negotiating the place of each artist in the fabric of the time in which each worked, he also enhances the reader's appreciation by commenting on each artist's technique - a factor not usually found in surveys such as this.
Of course it would be too voluminous to include ALL of the artists in America whose output could be additive to homoeroticism and Weinberg elects to choose fewer artists with multiple examples of each selected artist's work to demonstrate his points. Among the artists included are Thomas Eakins, John Singer Sargent, Charles Demuth, Paul Cadmus, Jared French, George Bellows, Thomas Pollock Anschutz, Jess, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Theophilus Brown, Wynn Chamberlain, Don Bachardy, as well as photographers Robert Mapplethorpe, Duane Michaels, John Dugdale, Mark Morrisoe, Arthur Tress, Lynn Ashton Harris, Andres Serrano, and John O'Reilly. As is any writer's prerogative he elects to not include some of today's top painters in this tradition such as Wes Hempel, Wade Reynolds, Gerard Huber, Jack Balas, Forrest Williams, Robert Gil de Montes, etc etc, but then those just may be waiting another volume!
Immensely readable and informative, Weinberg has quite successfully married scholarship with a lavish layout of rich reproductions of art that make this a book to treasure. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, June 05