PUBLISHER
Cherry and Martin

BOOK FORMAT
Paperback, 8 x 10 in. / 56 pgs / 24 bw.

PUBLISHING STATUS
Pub Date
Out of stock indefinitely

DISTRIBUTION
D.A.P. Exclusive
Catalog: SPRING 2016 p. 100   

PRODUCT DETAILS
ISBN 9780976184171 TRADE
List Price: $25.00 CDN $34.50 GBP £22.00

AVAILABILITY
Not available

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CHERRY AND MARTIN

Hal Fischer: Gay Semiotics

A Photographic Study of Visual Coding Among Homosexual Men

Text by Hal Fischer.

Featured image is reproduced from 'Hal Fischer: Gay Semiotics.'

Hal Fischer's original--now famous--deadpan taxonomy of gay culture in '70s San Francisco

Hal Fischer's Gay Semiotics: A Photographic Study of Visual Coding Among Homosexual Men (1977) is one of the most important publications associated with California conceptual photography in the 1970s. This new edition reproduces the look and feel of the original volume, which reconfigured into a book format the 24 text-embedded images of Fischer's 1977 photographic series Gay Semiotics. The photographs in Gay Semiotics present the codes of sexual orientation and identification Fischer saw in San Francisco's Castro and Haight Ashbury districts, ranging from such sexual signifiers as handkerchiefs and keys to depictions of the gay fashion "types" of that era--from "basic gay" to "hippie" and "jock." Gay Semiotics also features Fischer's critical essay, which is marked by the same wry, anthropological tone found in the image/text configurations. Fischer's book circulated widely, finding a worldwide audience in both the gay and conceptual art communities. Fischer's insistence on the visual equivalence of word and image is a hallmark of the loose photography and language group that included Fischer, Lutz Bacher, Lew Thomas and others working in the San Francisco Bay Area. First published as an artist's book in 1978 by NFS Press, at a time when gay people had been forced to both evaluate and defend their lifestyles, Gay Semiotics earned substantial critical and public recognition. Thirty-seven years later, the book remains a proactive statement from a voice within the gay community from a moment in history just before the devastation wrought by AIDS.
Hal Fischer (born 1950) grew up in Highland Park, Illinois. He arrived in San Francisco in 1975 to pursue an MA in photography at San Francisco State. Through his work as an art reviewer and photographer, he soon became embedded in the Bay Area's artistic and intellectual scene. He continues to live and work in San Francisco.

Featured image is reproduced from 'Hal Fischer: Gay Semiotics.'

PRAISE AND REVIEWS

i-D

Veronica Maldonado

cult classic field guide to The Castro's leather daddies, jocks and cowboys.

Hal Fischer: Gay Semiotics

STATUS: Out of stock indefinitely.

FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

JESSE PEARSON | DATE 6/25/2016

Jesse Pearson on Gay Semiotics

Jesse Pearson on Gay Semiotics

Of what utility is a review by me—a mostly straight man, as the Kinsey scale goes—of a book that outlines, from the inside and with anthropological precision, the intimate codes of apparel and persona that were employed by the gay men of 1970s America? That question is so unanswerable, at least in terms of finding a response that would satisfy each potential questioner, that it’s essentially hypothetical. So I’ll forego any further stress regarding whether I have the right to tell you what I think of this book and instead I’ll just tell you what I think of this book (as long as you keep in mind that the subject of Gay Semiotics is a secret language that was created with the express purpose of communication beyond the ken of the un-gay).
continue to blog


FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 9/19/2015

Hal Fischer: Gay Semiotics at NYABF

Hal Fischer: Gay Semiotics at NYABF

Featured image is reproduced from Cherry and Martin's new edition of Hal Fischer's classic Gay Semiotics: A Photographic Study of Visual Coding Among Homosexual Men, the subject of a talk in David Senior's Classroom series today at the NY Art Book Fair and available in the ARTBOOK @ MoMA PS1 stores throughout the fair. "Traditionally western societies have utilized signifiers for non-accessibility. The wedding ring, engagement ring, lavaliere or pin are signifiers for non-availability which are always attached to women. Signs for availability do not exist," Fischer wrote in 1977. "In gay culture, the reverse is true. Signifiers exist for accessibility. Obviously, one reason behind this is that gays are less constrained by a type of code which defines people as property of others or feels the need to promote monogamy. The gay semiotic is far more sophisticated than straight sign language, because in gay culture, roles are not as clearly defined. On the street or in a bar it's impossible most of the time to determine a gay man's sexual preference either in terms of activity or passive/aggressive nature. Gays have many more sexual possibilities than straight people and therefore need a more intricate communication system." continue to blog


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HAL FISCHER MONOGRAPHS + ARTIST'S BOOKS

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