Discussions of gay culture and gay politics traditionally have concerned "civil rights," "artistic influence," and "sexual freedom." Rarely has the concept of how gay people relate to material space been addressed. Aaron Betsky's Queer Space: Architecture and Same-Sex Desire is an important, ground-breaking book that examines how homosexual people live in physical space and how they are in the forefront of creating new concepts of space, for themselves as well as for the rest of the world. Queer Space is smart, well written, and filled with illustrations. Betsky's thesis--that "the purpose of queer space is ultimately sex"--is passionately argued and highly convincing. This is a major work of gay and social studies.
From Library Journal
In this follow-up to Building Sex (Morrow, 1995), Betsky, curator of art and design at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, attempts to reveal a historical interrelationship among a gay sensibility, design, and culture. Offering no real definition of the word queer, which he incessantly uses as noun, verb, and adjective, Betsky fails to differentiate it from his use of homosexual and gay as he focuses predominantly on spaces associated with the sexual activities of white, middle-class gay males. Disappointingly, his fatuous prose and unsubstantiated generalizations undermine his sincere attempts to explore this complex and fascinating topic: "Cruising through the city or cyberspace, the queer privateers move from their operatic colonies to the dirty delights of sex clubs, opening up the tightly packed, floating communal oval of a ship, a queer ark always looking for a port. I hope it remains always afloat." Recommended only for architecture collections in academic libraries and larger gay studies collections.?Jim Van Buskirk, San Francisco P.L.
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