From Library Journal
Suarez (English, Univ. of Murcia, Spain) opens by juxtaposing Clement Greenberg and Frankfurt school thinkers with a counter-tradition that uses mass images in an effort to integrate art and everyday life. This later tradition becomes the springboard for the author's description of America's underground culture and its role in the production of gay identities. The text's second phase counterpoises Jack Smith's desire to "avoid entering the cultural market as commodity" with Warhol's insatiable desire to publicize everything as art and all art as commerce. The text's chief weakness is the unnecessary and unconvincing attempt to link the European avant-garde with American underground culture. Nonetheless, mainstream cinema's current explosion of transvestite film and Mary Harron's just-released I Shot Andy Warhol make Suarez's generally well-written, thoroughly researched, and engaging text a timely addition to both cultural and film studies.?David Seelow, SUNY Coll. at Old Westbury, Long Island, N.Y.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
A passingly intelligent but disjointed critical examination of the gay ``underground'' cinema movement of the 1960s. Drawing mainly on the work of Kenneth Anger, Jack Smith, and Andy Warhol, Su rez (English/Universidad de Murcia, Spain) attempts to frame a slightly new conception of the historical relationship between the avant-garde and mass culture. Instead of a merely oppositional relationship, he sees, especially in these gay underground movies, a dialectical (love-hate, to the layperson) dynamic, as the filmmakers simultaneously embrace pop culture and critique it. For example, in Scorpio Rising, Anger both celebrates motorcycles, movie stars, and doo-wop songs and critiques them as emblems of mass culture's violent, fascistic potential. Su rez also details how gay filmmakers have expropriated images from the straight world and given them a gay reading, with drag queens being the classic example. But before Su rez can get to these ideas, he feels compelled to labor us with a 50-page history of the European avant-garde, freighted with enough stale Parisian jargon to fuel the entire Yale English department. Then there is an extended, discursive history of the American underground. In fact, the individual filmmakers, although the ostensible subject of the book, are treated almost perfunctorily. Su rez has too many other agendas to satisfy. Like the films it sometimes analyzes, flashes of brilliance amidst high and low pretentions, pastiche, and pother. (14 b&w photos) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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