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Gay Books

Gay desire enshrined in the image

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Gay Books

In the struggle for LGBT rights the need to be seen has always been paramount. TASCHEN books recognizes the importance of the visual in gay male culture and the positive role depicting queer desire has in the ongoing gender and sexual revolution. From monographs on Tom of Finland to anthologies of significant homosexual artists, TASCHEN offers a wide selection of gay books to satisfy a diversity of tastes.

As early as the classical male nude or the Physique Pictorial magazines of the 1950s, gay men have always sought out representations of the male body. Shifting notions of masculinity over time have resulted in different attitudes and aspirations. In The Male Nude and The Big Penis Book TASCHEN charts various histories of the erotic male body with contributions from artists like Robert Mapplethorpe, Wilhelm von Gloeden, and David Hockney. The compilation of images and interviews from gay magazine BUTT represents a more contemporary and gritty cross section of gay life.

The queer revolution also requires imagination and TASCHEN publications showcase gay artists who have dedicated themselves to creating masculine fantasy worlds. Artists like Touko Laaksonen (Tom of Finland), with his Kake comics of cops and military men engaged in lubricious horseplay, or George Quaintance, known for images of randy cowboys and ranch hands, produced hyper-real erotic art where gay sexual desire and pleasure are the status quo. These drawings and pictures inspired and provided solace to those who could not always live out their own yearnings in the flesh, especially in times when gay rights were few and the ghosts of Stonewall and the AIDS crisis still haunted the collective memory. The creativity in these illustrations can also be found in gay photography. Artists such as Bob Mizer constructed imagined scenes riffing off popular stereotypes and characters. The French artist couple Pierre et Gilles took this to another level with their immaculately engineered vignettes drawing on history, celebrity, and even religion that manage to capture the heart of queer culture and gay romance.