ARTBOOK LOGO

ARTBOOK BLOG

RECENT POSTS

DATE 7/26/2021

Dazzling and appropriately overwhelming, 'The Extreme Self' is new from 'The Age of Earthquakes' authors Shumon Basar, Douglas Coupland and Hans Ulrich Obrist

DATE 7/25/2021

Summertime smiles in ‘For Cats Only’

DATE 7/23/2021

'Separate Cinema' is Back in Stock!

DATE 7/22/2021

Thinking of Alexander Calder, born OTD 1898

DATE 7/21/2021

MoMA's 'Automania' traces the rich cultural history of the car

DATE 7/19/2021

Erik Kessels and Thomas Sauvin’s ‘Talk Soon’ reviewed in the ‘Brooklyn Rail’

DATE 7/17/2021

In 'Sophie Taeuber-Arp: Living Abstraction,' every work is an experiment

DATE 7/15/2021

A new and updated edition of 'Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Prints and Objects' Catalogue Raisonné

DATE 7/15/2021

Artbook at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles presents the launch of 'Final Transmission: Performance Art and AIDS in Los Angeles'

DATE 7/13/2021

A galvanizing new survey of artist-activist Andrea Bowers

DATE 7/13/2021

Join Artbook | D.A.P. at the Atlanta Summer Gift & Home Market, 2021!

DATE 7/11/2021

'Art on the Frontline: Mandate for a People´s Culture' unites writing by Angela Davis with artwork by Tschabalala Self

DATE 7/10/2021

Artbook at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles & Aperture present 'Tim Davis: I’m Looking Through You'

DATE 7/9/2021

Case Studies in Minimal Art. The Guggenheim's 'Object Lessons' is a New Release this week!

DATE 7/6/2021

Exhilarating 'Eileen Agar: Angel of Anarchy' is a New Release this week!

DATE 7/4/2021

Independent vision in ‘The New Woman Behind the Camera’

DATE 7/2/2021

‘The New Woman Behind the Camera’ opens at The Met

DATE 6/30/2021

Rizzoli presents the virtual book launch of 'Joel Meyerowitz: Wild Flowers'

DATE 6/30/2021

An argument for better captaining of spaceship Earth in 'Alexis Rockman: Shipwrecks'

DATE 6/28/2021

At last, summer camp is back on track! Celebrate with Andy Sweet's high-70s camp photos in 'Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah'

DATE 6/27/2021

Celebrating Gay Pride with 'Mechanical Fantasy Box: The Homoerotic Journal of Patrick Cowley'

DATE 6/26/2021

CELEBRATE LGBTQ PRIDE!

DATE 6/23/2021

Magnificent 'Georgia O’Keeffe' is a new release this week!

DATE 6/21/2021

Weird mojo in 'Another World: The Transcendental Painting Group'

DATE 6/20/2021

For the cool collector Dad: 'Marred for Life! Defaced Record Covers from the Collection of Greg Wooten'

DATE 6/18/2021

On Juneteenth, we celebrate the everyday heroes of Mario Moore’s portraiture

DATE 6/18/2021

Travel Guides!

DATE 6/18/2021

Bureau of General Services—Queer Division presents 'LIFELINES: Art, Intimacy and HIV—an Intergenerational Conversation'

DATE 6/17/2021

Definitive 'Sophie Taeuber-Arp: Living Abstraction' is New from MoMA

DATE 6/15/2021

'Young, Gifted and Black: A New Generation of Artists' is Back in Stock!

DATE 6/13/2021

The little-known photographs of Barkley L. Hendricks

DATE 6/12/2021

Gay Pride Gold in 'Tom of Finland: Made in Germany'

DATE 6/12/2021

Join Kristin Bedford and the Los Angeles Lowrider Community for the release of 'Cruise Night'

DATE 6/10/2021

Monochrome chic in 'Alex Katz: Beauty'

DATE 6/8/2021

'David Hockney: Drawing from Life' is a Staff Pick for Pride Month 2021

DATE 6/6/2021

From hair lacquer to whiskey and sweat in 2021 Pride Month Staff Pick, Karlheinz Weinberger, 'Together & Alone'

DATE 6/3/2021

Electrifying 'Barbara Kruger: Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You' is a New Release this week!

DATE 6/1/2021

A book like no other. We are thrilled to announce 'An Illustrated Catalog of American Fruits & Nuts'

DATE 6/1/2021

Celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride, 2021!

DATE 5/26/2021

A glimmer of hope in new release, 'Rashid Johnson: The Hikers'

DATE 5/24/2021

On the anniversary of George Floyd’s death, a compendium of writings by and about Black American artists, 1960–1980

DATE 5/20/2021

Alice Mackler does what she wants to do

DATE 5/20/2021

In 'Fabric of a Nation,' quilts "unlike any other in the world"

DATE 5/18/2021

Highly Anticipated ‘Soul of a Nation Reader’ is a New Release this week!

DATE 5/16/2021

Super-hot Kara Walker works on paper survey 'A Black Hole Is Everything a Star Longs to Be' is Back in Stock!

DATE 5/14/2021

A timely meditation on voting rights in Jeanine Michna-Bales' 'Standing Together'

DATE 5/13/2021

Alice Mackler Book Launch and Signing at Kerry Schuss Gallery

DATE 5/12/2021

Essential reading: Arthur Jafa’s ‘MAGNUMB’ is a new release this week

DATE 5/10/2021

'Shepard Fairey: 3 Decades of Dissent' is a New Release this week!

DATE 5/9/2021

Definitely our pick for Mothers Day 2021

DATE 5/8/2021

Groundbreaking Brazilian amateur Modernist photography show ‘Fotoclubismo’ opens at MoMA


BOOKS IN THE MEDIA

JESSE PEARSON | DATE 6/25/2016

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).

Jesse Pearson on Gay Semiotics

Originally published in 1978, this is a laconic field guide to the flora and fauna of then-contemporary gay life in San Francisco. Photographer and critic Hal Fischer—operating in a world in which semiotics was still a thing that people talked about not just when they were high on cocaine and yearning to flex a bit of what they had learned in a mostly forgotten college course—applied the social science of sign-reading to the milieu, full to the brim with frisson and jouissance, in which he found himself living. The book’s poker-faced photos and texts, when applied to such juicy accoutrements as ball gags and amyl nitrate poppers and such complex species as urbanis cowboyicus and leatherus daddyus give the whole venture a feeling of warm familiarity, of a joke shared.

Jesse Pearson on Gay Semiotics

Under the heading of “Signifiers for a Male Response,” Fischer breaks down the applicable meanings of earrings, handkerchiefs and keys—as well as the additional nuances of placement on the right or left side of the body. I like how these elements of gay culture, during a time when it was still forced to remain underground, found expression in codes so rigid that they approach militaristic precision. The utility of this language is clean and fast. Cut the shit; show me what you want. Wear your keys on a chain on your right side if you’re sexually passive; stick a red handkerchief in the left pocket of your jeans to indicate that you prefer to take charge in matters of penetration, and so on. Fischer, quietly adept, throws in deadpan asides here and there, such as a gentle reminder that red handkerchiefs might also be “employed in the treatment of nasal discharge,” in which case, it is assumed, their sex mojo would be nullified.

Jesse Pearson on Gay Semiotics

Elsewhere in the book, Fischer breaks down several of what he calls "Archetypal Media Images." Riffing on the tradition of August Sander, we see representative examples of various types, such as the natural (which lies in the American folk tradition of Whitman and Eakins), the classical (which owes its vibe to the marbled Adonis of antiquity), western (the cowboy stud), the urbane (of which Robert Mapplethorpe’s Man in Polyester Suit is the gold standard) and the leather (of which the Village People’s Glenn Hughes was best known in mainstream 1970s America).

Jesse Pearson on Gay Semiotics

As a time capsule of both gay subculture and the urge to commit semiotics, this book is necessary. It is also valuable as a chunk of sheer entertainment. But most interesting, perhaps, is the way that Gay Semiotics offers a chance to reflect upon the necessities of communication engendered by repression—as well as the opportunity to evaluate in which ways, and how much, gay men are freer now than they were then.

Jesse Pearson on Gay Semiotics

JESSE PEARSON is the founder and editor of Apology. He was previously an editor at index and the editor-in-chief of Vice. He currently lives in Los Angeles, where he is Creative Director of Super Deluxe.
Jesse Pearson on Gay Semiotics
Jesse Pearson on Gay Semiotics
Jesse Pearson on Gay Semiotics

Hal Fischer: Gay Semiotics

Hal Fischer: Gay Semiotics

CHERRY AND MARTIN
Pbk, 8 x 10 in. / 56 pgs / 24 b&w.




ARTBOOK LOGO
 
 

the art world's source for books on art & culture

  

CUSTOMER SERVICE
orders@artbook.com
212 627 1999
M-F 9-5 EST

TRADE ACCOUNTS

800 338 2665

CONTACT

JOBS + INTERNSHIPS

NEW YORK
Showroom by Appointment Only
75 Broad Street, Suite 630
New York NY 10004
Tel   212 627 1999

LOS ANGELES
Showroom by Appointment Only
818 S. Broadway, Suite 700
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Tel. 323 969 8985

ARTBOOK LLC
D.A.P. | Distributed Art Publishers, Inc.


All site content Copyright C 2000-2017 by Distributed Art Publishers, Inc. and the respective publishers, authors, artists. For reproduction permissions, contact the copyright holders.

ARTBOOK AMPERSAT

The D.A.P. Catalog
www.artbook.com