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Peter Berlin: Icon, Artist, Photosexual
Edited by Michael Bullock. Text by Jonathan David Katz, Evan Moffitt, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Ted Stansfield.
Peter Berlin revolutionized the landscape of gay male eroticism in the tradition of Tom of Finland
Peter Berlin was a self-created icon. With his trademark pageboy haircut and his skin-tight costumes that put every detail of his anatomy on display (designed and tailored by Berlin himself to accentuate his already naturally defined physique), he became a gay sex symbol and a walking work of art.
Cruising was his career, and with a background in photography, Berlin began taking thousands of erotic self-portraits in the parks, train stations and streets of Berlin, Rome, Paris, New York and San Francisco, where he settled in the early 1970s. As Berlin put it, “One day I looked at a camera and said, ‘I have found my dream lover.’”
Berlin’s ’70s and ’80s self-portrait photography graced the covers of gay magazines, defining a look and a reimagined masculinity in a changing gay male culture. Spotlighting Berlin’s significant body of work, Peter Berlin: Icon, Artist, Photosexual pays tribute to the man who revolutionized the landscape of gay male eroticism and became an international sensation. The book is designed by Omar Sosa, Creative Director of Apartamento magazine, and is edited by Michael Bullock, writer and publisher of BUTT, Pin-Up, Fantastic Man and Gentlewoman magazines. In addition to essays by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Jonathan David Katz, Ted Stansfield and Evan Moffitt, the book includes original quotes about Berlin by Jeremy O Harris, Kembra Pfahler, Andre Leon Talley, Armistead Maupin, John Waters, Arca, Silvia Prada, AA Bronson, Jack Pierson, Simon Foxton, Chris Moukarbel, Telfar Clemens, Paul Sepuya, Tim Blanks, Mariah Garnett and Rick Castro.
Artist, model and filmmaker Peter Berlin, nee Armin Hagen Freiherr von Hoyningen Huene (born 1942), created some of the most legendary erotic imagery of his day. What began as studies in self-portraiture and fashion design in the name of cruising, by the early 1970s had turned into a robust artistic practice that included the creation of two films—Nights in Black Leather (1973) and That Boy (1974)—and innumerable photographs, paintings and illustrations.
Featured image is reproduced from 'Peter Berlin: Icon, Artist, Photosexual.'
PRAISE AND REVIEWS
A new book chronicles the life and work of the groundbreaking photographer and gay icon.
Against the sotto voce background of current LGBTQ voices...?comes this mostly forgotten statement of gay male libido, a violently subversive gesture. Promiscuity, even public sex, for the sake of sex alone, is currently the “dirty” unmentioned secret of today’s activists who continue their efforts to transform gay liberation into gay assimilation.
It's Nice That
[Peter Berlin] has made his name as a notorious gay sex icon of the 1970s and 1980s – a man recognised for his self-portraiture, film and erotica that defies all norms of sexuality ...What he’s left behind is a legacy – an incredible archive of imagery that depicts the history and life of a young male navigating through his identity.
Berlin’s cultural contributions were so many decades ahead of his time and so unique—not fitting cleanly into either the world of art or the world of pornography—that understanding their relevance and impact requires the invention of a new terminology. I propose the word photosexuality and aim to make the case that Berlin was the first acclaimed male photosexual and the leading pioneer of its practice.
For Berlin, photography was as pure and simple as sex: an act of freedom and an expression of self.
[I]n the hazy, carefree dawn of the 70s, he pioneered the self-mythologising culture we all live in today. Before social media, before selfies, he was transforming himself in front of his camera into the star of his own fantasy narrative – and he did it all dressed in handcrafted weapons of mass arousal.
New York Magazine: The Cut
Berlin’s true crisis of faith: the reality that the world never embraced his utopic idea of sexual freedom, cruising, and sex. He sees the world as being robbed of pleasure by politics, jobs, and responsibilities.
New York Times: Style
During the 1970s, Peter Berlin became a sex symbol of gay culture, a real-life Tom of Finland who photographed himself in parks, train stations and other cruising grounds.
Upon moving to San Francisco in his early 30s, his super-powered libido, spectacular narcissism, and a lust for exhibitionism came together in a perfect storm to create Peter Berlin. From then on, he lived his life as his sexual alter-ego, and he took on his new identity with militant dedication.
He was a sex symbol, photographer, pornographer, clothing designer, illustrator and more...But long before being shot by the who’s-who of the 1970s queer art scene, Berlin simply took matters into his own hands: his images were, as we’d say today, selfies—creating an entirely new, joyfully narcissistic approach to self-portraiture.
Flipping through Icon, Artist, Photosexual is like toggling the controller of a Playstation 2 with a fistful of lube. Berlin is a Sims-esque character that crash-landed in Area 51. The bulges are out of this world, the fashion extraterrestrial, and the phallic imagery a rocket ship that blasts off through Berlin’s body and body of work.
The 1970s gave birth to Gay Pride, a sensibility beautifully echoed in the self-portraits of Peter Berlin. The licentious libertine possessed with thick blonde hair, chiseled good looks, and a body that just wouldn’t quit discovered photography and immediately in love with the image of himself. Like Narcissus, there was nothing Berlin loved so much as to faze upon the character he constructed in the form of a gay porn star.
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FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 2/15/2020
Saturday, February 15 from 6–8 PM, Tom of Finland Foundation, Chris Moukarbel, Durk Dehner, Evan Moffitt, Michael Bullock, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Rick Castro and S.R. Sharp present Peter Berlin signing Icon, Artist, Photosexual, published by Damiani.
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FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG
LACY SOTO | DATE 2/8/2020
Frieze Los Angeles returns after the sold-out success of its inaugural edition and Artbook is back as well setting up shop in our storefront on the New York City Backlot of Paramount Pictures Studios. Located at Storefront S3, our temporary bookstore will present new and classic monographs, signed books, children’s books, critical theory collections and books on contemporary culture, alongside the special and limited editions listed below. Signings with artist Todd Gray, artist/writer Warren Neidich, photographer Matthew Fox, photographer Peter Berlin and meet and greet with The Haas Brothers. For more information about books and editions at Artbook Bookstore at Frieze Los Angeles, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 6/25/2022
Featured image is reproduced from Peter Berlin: Icon, Artist, Photosexual, the first major monograph on the artist and gay icon. In his Introduction, Berlin, aka Armin Baron von Hoyningen-Huene, writes, "From the early days of puberty I was intrigued by the sexiness of boys and since I was one I was excited by my own image. At the beginning, I felt surprised and intimidated by this self-love so I kept it a secret but my passion for revealing clothes, especially tight-fitting pants, seemed to heighten my excitement. Being desired for sex and the lustful look of men in public while cruising became an obsession.…
I did what girls and boys all over the planet do today by the millions, now with their smartphones, turning the lens on themselves to produce self-portraits, which are now called ‘selfies.’ This is the most natural thing for them to do. Though it still surprises me, what began for me in the late 1960s—the nudity, the eros, the raw sexuality—is still considered taboo today.
Back then, my young mind told me to freeze my image on film, first for my own pleasure and later (at the urging of friends) to share with the world. It was that drive to show myself off that produced two films, Nights in Black Leather and That Boy, whose main character required a name. As a result, almost half a century ago, PETER BERLIN was born and lives on through these images." continue to blog
USD $50.00 | CAN $69.95
Pub Date: 11/26/2019
Active | In stock
USD $700.00 | CAN $1000
Pub Date: 2/11/2020
Active | In stock