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Eroticism & Art Hardcover – January 16, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 334 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; annotated edition edition (January 16, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192801872
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192801876
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,146,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

`This original and carefully researched study is enhanced by over 130 illustrations of which over 100 are in colour, with 28 full page plates, of which all but 4 are in excellent colour.' Day By Day

About the Author


Alyce Mahon was educated at Trinity College Dublin and the Courtauld Institute in London. She is now Lecturer in Modern Art at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Trinity College Cambridge. She specializes in twentieth-century art and critical theory, with a particular research emphasis on Surrealism, French art and politics, and performance art.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By R. Hardy HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on January 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
"What I like is erotica," goes the old joke. "What you like is pornography." There is probably never going to be agreement on how to separate one from the other, and besides, the same people who object to one are often going to object as well to the other. In _Eroticism & Art_ (Oxford University Press), Alyce Mahon draws a distinction. "Pornography's sole intent is to stimulate sexually; it is an aid to sex or masturbation." It is, in her view, more strictly concerned with power rather than mere sex. Erotic art, however, "is about equality between members of the opposite and same sexes." Even so, within erotic art is always another intent, "a shocking means to express social, religious and political criticism or defy bourgeois taste." Not all of the art discussed and depicted here is shocking, but this is closely related to how long we have been looking at it. Manet's _Olympia_ of 1863 shows an alluring nude, a high-class prostitute, staring frankly at the viewer. It was controversial at the time, but it is hard to imagine anyone getting worked up over it now. But Manet borrowed the woman's classical pose from an even more respectable Titian, and has in turn been borrowed by Mel Ramos in 1973 to show a California blonde complete with tanning lines along the _Playboy_ archetype, and in 1988 by Yasumasa Morimura, a male homosexual Japanese artist who assaults the viewer by posing both as the courtesan and the black servant in the original. Mahon, a lecturer at the University of Cambridge, has drawn upon extensive sources (this is a book of mostly intellectual rather than sexual stimulation), and has concentrated upon Western art from the mid-nineteenth century to current times.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By James E. Smith on September 29, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This whole Oxford series on art is excellent and this book is one of the best. It is a 21st century review of erotic art history which discusses the subject matter in a non-judgmental and aesthetic manner which both educates and illuminates how erotic art plays a role in society to freely express the deepest desires of human beings. I highly recommend this book. James E. Smith, Esq.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By B. D. Haas on August 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
Page 227-228 (2007 paperback edition): "Serrano's Piss Christ (1987), a large colour photograph of a plastic crucifix submerged in a container of his own urine and lit in such a way as to make it radiate like a Sacred Heart statue, alerts us to some of the key tensions between art of the era and this (aforementioned; my addition) censorship campaign. Serrano conflated the sacred (Jesus) with the profane (bodily fluids), using erotic (????; my addition) religious iconography as a means of both addressing the taboo of sexual desire (how????; why all of a sudden sexual desire????; my addition) and AIDS (AIDS????, how are we supposed to grasp this?; my addition) and discussing political impotence and religious intolerance before the epidemic." Remember: the text quoted is all there is about this work; I simply do not understand how a photograph of Jesus submerged in urine should make a comment about sexual desire (is the artist a known lover of the golden shower?)and specifically AIDS (what is the connection between Jesus Christ, urine and AIDS?; to me there is at least no obvious connection between the three; by the way: when seeing the work, how are we supposed to know the urine is the artist's own?). Maybe I have no feeling for art, but I would say this passage is full of non-sequitur's.
That in my opinion is the first problem with this book. In many instances the text is incomprehensible to me, and I really think this is due to the author and not to my incompetence. I could give quite a list of similar enigmatic quotes.
The second problem concerns the issue of looking, when the author describes a work that we can see for ourselves, because there is an illustration available. More often than not the author nevertheless seems to look at a completely different work.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Fernando A. Castro on April 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A must-have bool for anybody interested in the topic of the connection between eroticism and art although its insights are not very compelling.
Its scope is also very limited.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By DBuddha on October 17, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good overview of a frequently overlooked and more often misconstrued subject, which has nonetheless been a part of every human society since before writing was invented.
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