Outlaw Representation: Censorship and Homosexuality in Twentieth-Century American Art

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Date: 2002

Region: North America

Subject: Sexual/Gender Orientation

Medium: Literature


Meyer.jpg

Artist: Richard Meyer (b. 1966)

Confronting Bodies: Oxford University Press' office in England

Date of Action: September, 2002

Location: Canada

Description of Artwork: Richard Meyer's Outlaw Representation: Censorship and Homosexuality in Twentieth-Century American Art provides a careful analysis of the works of homosexual artists and the circumstances under which these works have been attacked, suppressed, or censored outright. The book includes 194 illustrations ranging from the artworks of celebrated figures such as Andy Warhol and Robert Mapplethorpe to physique magazine photographs and gay liberation posters.

Mapplethorpe.jpg

The Incident: Oxford University Press' home office in England has forbidden its Canadian affiliate from selling a book published by it's U.S. branch. The publisher is afraid that criminal charges might be brought against it as a result of a photograph of a young boy taken by Robert Mapplethorpe that is included in the book.

Results of Incident: Glad Day Bookshop, Canada's first and longest surviving lesbian and gay bookstore, had planned to do an event with the author, who is an associate professor in the Department of Art History at the University of Southern California; that was until it was discovered that the Canadian publisher was not carrying the title. "The picture at issue, a portrait entitled Jesse McBride is not pornographic or obscene in any way" said Meyer, "and part of what I discuss in the book is how the patently false charge of child pornography has been used by conservative politicians and the Christian Right as a justification to suppress Mapplethorpe's work. Using these same arguments, Oxford has, in effect, censored a scholarly book on censorship."

Source: Glad Day Bookshop, NCAC