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Orientalia: Sex in Asia Paperback – October 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: powerHouse Books (October 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157687186X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576871867
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 9.2 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,359,741 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Reagan Louie received a BA from UCLA and a MFA from Yale University. Louie's photographs are in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Museum of Modern Art, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. The recipient of numerous grants and awards, including a 1989 Guggenheim Fellowship, a 1997 Fulbright Fellowship, and two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Louie is the author of Toward A Truer Life: Photographs on China 1980-90 (Aperture, 1991), and contributed to China: Fifty Years Inside The People's Republic (Aperture, 1999). Louie is a professor in the Photography Department at the San Francisco Art Institute, where he has taught since 1976. He lives in San Francisco, California. Tracy Quan is the author of Diary of A Manhattan Call Girl: A Nancy Chan Novel (Three Rivers Press, 2003) which has been translated into four languages. Quan's novel will soon be appearing in China and in Japan. Her essays, reviews, and other writings have appeared in the Los Angeles Times Book Review, Men's Health, The Philadelphia Enquirer, Lingua Franca, AsianAvenue.com, and Salon.com, as well as the anthology Whores and Other Feminists (Routledge, 1997). Quan is a contributor to NYC Sex: How New York City Transformed Sex In America (Scala, 2002). She lives and works in New York City.

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Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
My expectations of this book was to have access to the vast dimensions of the asian sex world that expands from passion to the sad reality of sexual slavery.
I had hoped that Tracy Quan could bring this distant world to me through photographs that infiltrated beyond the surface into the very core of this interesting subject.
What I found instead was a mediocre account of various Asian women involved in the sex trade of several countries.
Quan seems to lack depth in her vision of portraying the essence of human suffering behind the scenes.
What I see is a snap shot collection of boredom amoung women in a world that seems to have few doors. There is nothing intriguing about these pictures. No sense of having any access beyond what might be considered the surface images of women at work..
The book lacks mystery. The images are simplisticly selfish
in the sense that there is nothing to wonder about beyond these subjects sitting around over lit rooms, talking on the phone, staring in mirriors, or just sleeping..
One does get a glimpse of sisterhood, of some unifying force that keeps these women from total isolation, but again it is so borderline uncommited to anything substantial, that it fades with my interst from page to page..
Overall, this is a very weak viewpoint into a world that conceals far more drama and suffering than the artist was able to capture..
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The photo on the cover is the best one, but this book is not necessarily a photo book. There is a lot of text explaining different things about sex in a few Asian countries, but the photographs were mostly grainy and blurry street scenes.
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By jayride on June 8, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I would have appreciated a bit more text (the reason I didn't give it 5 stars) but overall I was quite pleased. It's a "photo-travelogue" of the Far East from a perspective I thoroughly enjoyed !
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13 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 28, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book helps us to see that prostitutes are daughters, sisters, mothers, too. Some of the women are beautiful, some are plain. Some are posing erotically, others are sitting fully clothed, some happy, some sad --yes, prostitutes are people, too. As you can see from other reviews, this message is still needed, this is a very moving and meaningful book.
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15 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 28, 2003
Format: Paperback
My first reaction to Reagan Louie's photographs was that of fascination. As an American male, there is a conditioned sexual response to a photo of a prostitute. The tinge of desire fueling an intense fascination for these hyper sexual photos, and there are elements for intellectual rapture as well, the surreal normalcy of the brothel, the digging into the artist intentions...but ultimately my response is still an illusion... the compelling illusion of lust and desire. Like the morning after a drunken one-night fling, Reagan leaves me empty and wanting something deeper. Photographs are the result of a series of conscious and subconscious choices made by the artist (ala Diane Arbus), and the greater an artist awareness the greater her freedom to chose.... resulting in better art. It's too bad that SFMOMA devoted an entire exhibit to (and thus drag an audience through) an Asian American man going though an identity search through the brothels of Asia. Surely there are Asian woman who are mothers, lawyers, activists, farmers, entrepreneurs, spiritual leaders, political revolutionaries, economists, daughters, sisters, and wives. I have no doubt that Asian woman are more complex than an exotic sexual delicacy to be consumed by fine art enthusiasts. But perhaps that will be the work of a real artist.
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