ABOUT BOOKS
by Tee A. Corinne

See Jim Van Buskirk’s review of Lesbian art in America by Harmony Hammond just below this column. $50.00 hardcover, ISBN 0-8478-2248-6, Rizzoli. [See also the report from Harmony Hammond in the member news column]

Take out: queer writing from Asian Pacific America, edited by Quang Bao and Hanya Yanagihara with Timothy Liu, features writing by 42 contributors and visual art by Eki Mori, Paul Pfeiffer, Ho Tam, Jimm Tran, Gaye Chan, and SLAAP!/APICHA (Sexually Liberated Art Activist Asian People). It should be available by the time you read this. $22.95 paperback, ISBN 1-889876-11-9; $64.50 hardcover, ISBN 1-889876-12-7, Temple Univ. Press.

Perhaps you missed Robert Indiana: rétrospective 1958-1998 when it was initially published in 1998 as an exhibition catalog (text in French and English) by the Musée d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain, Nice. Of special interest is a section on Indiana’s homages to bisexual artist Marsden Hartley (1877-1943), several paintings and one sculpture based on Hartley’s painted memorials to Karl von Freyburg, his lover. Is there an irony in the fact that Indiana (b. 1928) -- who rose to prominence in the Pop Art era but whose homosexuality was not widely known until later -- is most famous for his LOVE paintings and sculptures? Photos, especially intriguing ones of Indiana and Ellsworth Kelly, are included although it is not clear if “a discreet way of acknowledging affection” (p. 64) means they were lovers. $60.00 paperback, ISBN 2-9512920-0-7, dist. by Univ. of Washington Press.

It has been a great year for biographies. I found Intimate companions: a triography of George Platt Lynes, Paul Cadmus, Lincoln Kirstein, and their circle by David Leddick utterly captivating. Kirstein (1907-1996) co-founded the New York City Ballet. Lynes (1907-1955) was a fashion photographer whose homoerotic images were, until recently, hidden. Painter Cadmus (1904-1999) was openly gay although married to Kirstein’s sister, Fidelma. Together and separately, they brought a gay sensibility to the New York art world of the mid-to-late twentieth century. $29.95 hardbound, ISBN 0-312-20898-7, St. Martin’s Press.

Amazons in the drawing room: the art of Romaine Brooks by Whitney Chadwick came out of an exhibit at the National Museum of Women in The Arts (D.C.). It will be at the U.C. Berkeley Art Museum October 11, 2000 to January 21, 2001. Brooks (1874-1970) created lesbian imagery through dykey portraits of herself, her lovers, and her lovers’s other lovers in the early years of the twentieth century. Never before reproduced paintings -- including a self-portrait -- and photographs are included along with the paintings and surrealistic drawings for which she is best known. $24.95, #15.95, ISBN 0-520-22567-8, paperback; $50.00, #30.00, ISBN 0-520-22565-1, hardcover, Univ. of California Press.

Fairfield Porter: a life in art by Justin Spring recounts the life of a realist painter whose fame has grown since his death in 1975. Porter was married to the same woman for over 43 years and a father of four, yet also maintained a 25-year erotic relationship with poet and art critic James Schuyler. $35.00 Hardcover, ISBN: 0-300-07637-1, Yale.

It is interesting to move from the Porter book to James Schuyler: selected art writings, edited by Simon Pettet, in which Schuyler (1923-1991) wrote that his favorite painter was Fairfield Porter. It may not be unrelated that, after 20 years as an art critic, he stopped writing about art the year Porter died. $17.50 paperback, ISBN 1-57423-076-X; $30 hardcover, ISBN 1-57423-077-8, Black Sparrow Press. Also from Black Sparrow is The diary of James Schuyler, $15.00 paperback, ISBN 1-57423-025-5; $27.50 hardbound, ISBN 1-57423-026-3.

One of the artists Schuyler discussed in Selected art writings -- and one whose work I have always enjoyed -- is Don Bachardy (born 1934), Christopher Isherwood's lover for 33 years. Stars in my eyes is Bachardy’s new book of pen and ink portrait drawings and commentaries about the sitters. Of special interest are studies of and stories about Robert Mapplethorpe, James Merrill, Ellsworth Kelly, Allen Ginsberg, and Christopher Isherwood. There is also significant gay content in the narratives about straight and bisexual sitters. $34.95 hardbound, ISBN 0-299-16730-5, Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

The red rose girls: an uncommon story of art and love by Alice A. Carter tells of five women: Jessie Willcox Smith (1863-1935), Elizabeth Shippen Green (1871-1954), Violet Oakley (1874-1961), Edith Emerson (ca. 1890-1981), and Henrietta Cozens (ca. 1859-1940). They were book and magazine illustrators and muralists. Four were artists and the fifth managed a joint household first with three of the others, then with one. It is a story of financial success, of passionate devotion to the making of art and to one another. Whether the women were sexual or not is unimportant. They were lesbians in the sense that they were two couples bound by love and when one married a (possibly homosexual) man, the scorned woman grieved, then found another woman to love and share a life with. $39.95 hardcover, ISBN 0-8109-4437-5, Abrams.

Village elders by Penny Coleman, a collection of written and photographic portraits of gay men and lesbians who live in the Greenwich Village area of New York City, combines great character studies and gripping life stories. Coleman’s photographs have appeared in the New York times, the Los Angeles times, the Dallas morning news, and elsewhere. $24.95 hardbound, ISBN 0-252-02552-0, University of Illinois Press.

Girl reel by Bonnie J. Morris is a memoir of growing up loving movies in a family where the father and aunt had acted as extras in Hollywood films in the 1930s and 1940s. It is a story of growing up lesbian, writing about culture, and having small parts in movies herself. Half-Jewish, half-Welsh and Norwegian, smart and funny, Morris (b. 1961) takes the reader to North Carolina, Maryland, Israel, and upstate New York with movie stories as anchor and metaphor. $14.95 paperback, ISBN 1-56689-094-2, Coffee House Press. Also by Morris is the photo-filled book on women's music festivals, Eden built by eves, $15.95 paperback, ISBN 1-55583-477-9, Alyson.

Copies are still available of From the figurative tradition, Theophilus Brown and Paul Wonner, selected paintings: 1954-1999, catalog essay by Whitney Chadwick. $20.00, add $2.00 for shipping (make check payable to Wiegand Gallery), Wiegand Gallery, College of Notre Dame, 1500 Ralston Ave., Belmont, CA 94002. Also, check out the sections on Theophilus Brown (b. 1919) and Paul Wonner (b. 1920) in Bay Area figurative art: 1950-1965 by Caroline A. Jones, $29.95 paperback, ISBN 0-520-06842-4, SFMOMA and Univ. of California Press. I also understand there is an extensive interview with Brown housed at the Center for the History of Sexual Diversity (formerly the Gay and Lesbian History Society) in San Francisco.

Departures: 11 artists at the Getty by Lisa Lyons chronicles works commissioned by the Getty as responses to work in their permanent collection. Included is a giant, enigmatic painting by Lari Pittman about whom Lyons writes, “His pictures of the past two decades are also highly political, and taken together they constitute an illuminating homosexual polemic on a wide range of social and cultural issues.” (p. 40) Way to go, Getty! $24.95 paperback, ISBN 0-89236-582-X, Getty Trust Publications.

Great women collectors by Charlotte Gere and Marina Vaizey examines the collecting habits of thirty-three women including lesbians Gertrude Stein and Etta Cone. This is an ideocyncratic book, a characteristic which mirrors the women discussed. $35.00, ISBN 0-8109-6393-0, Philip Wilson/Abrams, dist. by Abrams.

Amazons of the avant-garde: Exter, Goncharova, Popova, Rozanova, Stepanova, Udaltsova, ed. by John E. Bowlt and Matthew Drutt, is a study of Russian women artists active between 1900 and 1920, structured in the form of thirteen interpretive essays. Note the brief section by Olga Matich on Elizavera Kruglikova, a lesbian printmaker (1865-1941). An exhibit of the same name opened at the Guggenheim Museum, New York, on September 7 and will run until January 7, 2001. $39.95 hardcover, ISBN 0-8109-6924-6, Abrams.

Faeries: visions, voices and pretty dresses, photographs by Keri Pickett, documents Radical Faeries at summer gatherings in rural Minnesota. The text was edited from conversations with the subjects. $40.00 hardcover, ISBN 0-89381-896-8, Aperture.

*New in paperback* Latin American art in the twentieth century is edited by Edward Sullivan, a former co-chair of the Gay and Lesbian Caucus and writer on gay art themes. $39.95 paperback, ISBN 0-7148-3890-9, Phaidon.

Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and twentieth-century Mexican art: the Jacques and Natasha Gelman collection, with essays by Pierre Schneider and Sylvia Navarrete, shows how a couple, passionate about art, can shape the history and understanding of the work of a whole group of artists. $32 paperback, 0-934418-55-1, MOCA San Diego, dist. by D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers.

See also: Frida Kahlo: an open life by Raquel Tibol, translated by Elinor Randall, $14.95 paperback, ISBN 0-826321887, U.niv. of New Mexico Press.

Lesbian histories and cultures (vol. 1 in The encyclopedia of homosexuality), edited by Bonnie Zimmerman, is an excellent reference book. Art related entries include Architecture, Contemporary European Art, Contemporary North American Art, Mainstream Art, Photography, and Cartoons and Comic Books. There are individual entries on Alice Austen, Dorothy Arzner, Rosa Bonheur, Romaine Brooks, Gluck (Hannah Gluckstein), Frida Kahlo, Mary Edmonia Lewis, Kate Millett, and Kit Anstruther-Thomson (listed with her lover Vernon Lee). $140.00 cl, ISBN 0-8153-1920-7, Garland.

I've always been fascinated by women in drag. Takarazuka: sexual politics and popular culture in modern Japan by Jennifer Ellen Robertson is an in depth discussion of the Japanese live theater where all of the parts are played by women. $15.95 paperback, ISBN 0-520-21151-0, Univ. of California Press.

Speaking of women in drag, there is a very dykey photo I've never seen before of Jane Heap (ca. 1885-1964, artist, writer, editor, and gallery owner) in Women editing modernism: little magazines & literary history by Jayne E. Marek (published in 1995). The text includes relevant information on homosexuality in the early decades of the twentieth century and on Jane Heap’s championing of Dada, Surrealism and Constructivism. $14.95 paperback, ISBN 0-8131-0854-3; $34.95 hardcover, ISBN 0-8131-1937-5, Univ. of Kentucky Press.

Nureyev, edited by Howard Brown -- a visual tribute to a gay icon -- includes photographs by Cecil Beaton and many others. $29.95 paperback, ISBN 0-7148-3470-X, Phaidon.

As time goes by: portraits 1982/1988/1997, photographs by Barbara Davatz, with texts by Nicole Miller, Sigrid Pallmert, and Patrick Frey, shows individuals mixing the gender of their partners over time. It has a queerly delightful sensibility in lovely black and white studio-style portraits. $39.95 cl, ISBN 3-905509-25-3, Scalo.

Leonor Fini by Esther Selsdon, elegantly showcases the work of Fini who was born in 1908 in Argentina, raised in Trieste, and worked in France much of her adult life. Active on the edges of Surrealism, Fini was a self-taught painter whose images have a dreamlike quality with, sometimes, overtones of lesbian eroticism. $14.95 cl ISBN 1-85995-466-9, Parkstone Press, dist. by Books International, 1-800-546-7952.

Ray Anne Lockard alerted me to Sexuality and form: Caravaggio, Marlowe, and Bacon by Graham L. Hammill. I haven’t seen a copy yet (due out in November), but one of the Library of Congress subject headings is “Homosexuality and art.” $30.00 hardcover, ISBN 0-226-31518-5, Univ. of Chicago Press.

Watch for Eileen Gray by Caroline Constant, due out in October. The Irish-born Gray (1878-1976), bisexual and very handsome, was known for her furniture, interior design, and modernist architecture. $50.95 hardcover, ISBN 0-7148-3905-1, Phaedon.

Another October release is Spectacular passions: cinema, fantasy, gay male spectatorships by Brett Farmer, said to reveal “how cinema has been engaged by gay men as a vital forum for ‘fantasmatic performance.’” $18.95 paperback, ISBN 0-8223-2559-4, Duke.

From Russia with love: costumes for the Ballets Russes 1909-1933 with essays by Roger Leong, Natalia Metelitsa, Nancy Van Norman Baer, Lynn Garafola, Sarah Woodcock, and Michelle Potter, is delicious. Original costume designs are paired with stunning photographs of the costumes themselves and vintage images of Ballets Russes dancers in stills and in production. The Garafola essay on “The sexual iconography of the Ballets Russes” examines how Diaghilev’s productions changed ideas about the portrayal of gender. The effects of his promotion of his lovers as star dancers on how the male body was presented is worth the price of the book. $27.95 paperback, ISBN 0-642-54116-7, National Gallery of Australia, distributed by Univ. of Washington Press.

Due out in October, Ruth Bernhard: between art and life by Margaretta K. Mitchell deals with the exquisite black and white photographer (born 1905) who has spent much of her adult life in San Francisco. $29.95 hardcover, ISBN 0811821919, Chronicle Books.

The cunt coloring book by Tee Corinne (yes!) goes back to press momentarily which will bring the number of copies in print since 1975 to 24,000. I understand from the publisher that it is one of their top selling books. Line drawings with text (brief) in English, Mexican Spanish, French Canadian French, and German. $7.95 paperback, ISBN 0-86719-371-9, Last Gasp of San Francisco.

TEASERS (are they or aren’t they...)

Under the heading “Teasers” is Leo Kenney: a retrospective by Sheila Farr which includes the tantalizing line: “In those early days of his painting, Kenney was preoccupied with sorting out the effects of his Catholic upbringing, dealing with the absence of a caring but difficult father, and coming to terms with his own sexuality.” (p. 13) Nothing else is said about sexuality or significant others, but the comment caused me to read every line of text, hoping for more. Kenney’s paintings are magical, spirituality-inflected, and sometimes surreal. Kenney, self-taught, was born in Spokane in 1925 and now makes his home in Seattle. $25.00 paperback, 0-295-97961-5; $40.00 hardcover, ISBN 0-295-97960-7, Mus. of Northwest Art, dist. by Univ. of Washington Press.

Between two worlds: the life and art of Lilian May Miller is the story of a U.S. diplomat’s daughter (1895-1943), raised and trained in art in Japan. Called “Jack” in private, she attended Vassar, cut her hair short, wore pants, and was supported by a homosocial world of women. Her paintings and wood block prints, well contextualized in this book, are Japanese in style and subject. Her life was cut short in mid-career by cancer. $28.00 paperback, 1-877921-15-7, Pacific Asia Museum, dist by Univ. of Washington Press.

Tracey Moffatt: laudanum, texts in English and German by Brigitte Reinhardt, Stephan Berg, Alexander Tolnay, discusses the film and sequenced still photo work of a contemporary Australian (born 1960), who uses her half-Aborigine background in some of her imagery. The homoerotic overtones in the work are only indirectly addressed in the text. $24.95 hardcover, ISBN 3-7757-0874-X, Hatje Cantz, dist. by D.A.P., Distributed Art Publishers.