Friday, February 10, 2017

"Before Pictures" by Douglas Crimp (The University of Chicago Press/Dancing Foxes Press)

ISBN 978-0-226-423456
In my youth, I subscribed to the October journal. I feel my main attraction to the journal was due to its design. Which is, to this day, the exact same thing. I like a magazine or journal that doesn't change. Saying that I haven't read it for 20 years or so, even though, it's an excellent publication of writers writing about things I'm interested in. One of those writers is Douglas Crimp. If his name was attached to an essay I would read it. 

"Before Pictures" is a book that I wouldn't expect from Crimp. It's very personal, and perhaps one of the best books from a gay perspective on New York City and its haunts. The book is centered on the fact that he curated a show called "Pictures" which was influential due it had Robert Longo, Cindy Sherman, and others. He was a critic who was/is interested in how the arts merge into pop culture. What I like about this book is that it's a very focused memoir on the place, time, and the nature of one's sexuality and love of the arts can all meet on a specific landscape. When he writes about the disco era it's fascinating, maybe because I just think of him as an art critic and not a guy who actually had a public life in such a wonderful environment. Or his interest in the Ballet, which is quite deep, and of course, like everything else in this book, deals with a relationship. A superb memoir that touches on a lot of issues. His love (I think) for Manhattan and some other locations. The Fire Island part of the book was equally fascinating to me. Essential gay culture literature, and of course, a very insider's view of the arts during the 1970s through the 1980s. Wonderful.
Post a Comment