Artist Jack Pierson?s beautiful -- and sexy -- new book, Angel Youth (Charta/Irish Museum of Modern Art), a collection of his previous monographs, is a time-traveling road trip through queer American youth culture of the 1980s and ?90s.
Angel Youth sometimes feels like a scrapbook?was that your intention?
Like any sort of tourist, I think that?s an impulse people have. One reviewer was like, ?These are found photographs that he blew up!? No, they?re not, but that?s what they were supposed to look like. In the ?90s, other people also started to do art books with their own snapshots or Polaroids or things that were interesting to them -- everyone was saying, ?Let?s make a book!? [That] proliferation morphed with the Internet and Facebook saying that your own memories are valuable and you can communicate. It?s not like any picture is so great, but the whole range of them are there. It lets you in, in a different way -- it makes it more freely associative. Angel Youth tries to step away from the travelogue and ?This is my trip and it is specific.? Every kid, every college student that went to Europe, kept a journal and saved the wrappers off candy bars and so on -- I did. But I think I was smart enough at 30 to take out the stuff that was too specific or corny, to make it more open. When you put it in a little book or blow it up too, people will slow down and look at it. ?What does he mean by this?? ?Why did he do this?? It?s the same thing as putting it on the Internet. It?s official -- it?s asking you to look at it differently.
Are there trips that are special to you?
My whole artistic life started with a trip from New York to Miami one Christmas around 1984. That set me free in some way after I had gotten out of college. [Miami] was sort of forlorn and destitute, and I didn?t intend to stay; it?s more than I ran out of money while I was there.
Is that the story you wanted to tell here?
I wanted to tell a nonlinear story of a life that was going on somehow in a variety of places, that I had managed to make it from Miami to Paris somehow, that there were locations and friendships and points of desire and reverie and longing or whatever you call it; dreams I once had and dreams I was having at the time. It?s all in the journey, as clich? as that sounds.
Greetings from the Gayborhood: A Nostalgic Look at Gay Neighborhoods
Donald F. Reuter (Abrams Image)
Mapping the histories of gayborhoods from New York to Seattle to Atlanta with kitsch memorabilia and archival photos, this could be perceived as a simple time capsule. But Reuter is also looking forward: Gentrification is pricing us out, he says, threatening to make gayborhoods extinct and Greetings a farewell symphony.
Parrworld: Objects and Postcards
Martin Parr (Aperture)
Like a keenly campy mail-order catalog, photographer Martin Parr?s dual volumes run through wristwatches (Saddam or Mao?), crockery (commemorative Margaret Thatcher dinner set, anyone?), and perhaps every bit of bric-a-brac the Spice Girls ever graced. The highlight: 20,000+ ?Boring Postcards? that skewer the trip-sharing tradition.