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Gay Art

A Historic Collection

by Felix Lance Falkon
with Thomas Waugh

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gay studies
list price: $22.95 USD
category: Social Science
published: 2006
publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press
  • Winner, Independent Publisher Award (BRONZE)
  • Winner, ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award (SILVER)
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Silver Winner, ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award (Gay/Lesbian Non-Fiction)

Bronze Winner, Independent Publisher Book Award (Best Erotica)


When first published in 1972, A Historic Collection of Gay Art was the first book to document explicit expressions of gay male sexuality in the graphic arts, from antiquity to pop culture; its frank and unapologetic survey of the pleasures of the flesh was, for gay men, unprecedented, and it remains the starting-point for modern-day discussions of erotic gay male artwork and comics.

This new edition has been updated by the original author, Felix Lance Falkon, and Thomas Waugh, author of the similarly-themed bestsellers Out/Lines and Lust Unearthed. It features erotic line drawings and other artwork from ancient Greece to 1970s America, by artists both anonymous and infamous (including Tom of Finland, Graewolf, Blade, and Aubrey Beardsley), as well as an insightful narrative that provides a fascinating historical context for these images, including their production and dissemination. There is also a preface by Earl Kemp, one of the book's original editors, on the story of its publication at a time when the celebration of gay men's sexuality was still a dangerous thing.

Gay Art also provides a modern-day discussion about pleasure and permission: questions about how we define erotic imagery, and what we should and should not be allowed to see. Subversive, smart, and sexy, Gay Art takes erotic images from the past out of the closet and into the light of present day.

Felix Lance Falkon passed away on April 19, 2010.

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Editorial Reviews

A fantastic re-issue. . . . This book is a must-have for anyone who is seriously interested in the history of gay art, and even for folks who are just wanting a general overview of the subject.

— Monotonous.net

For me, the most interesting thing about this book is the way new information was found between the two versions, and how censorship has evolved since the beginning of the 1970s.... For the late 60s/early 70s perspective of the original author on art, gay rights and society, Gay Art does deserve its subtitle, "a historic collection."
-The Gay Comics List

— Gay Comics List

Kudos to Arsenal Pulp Press for bringing [Gay Art] back.... Waugh's witty commentary for each of the 154 images--reaching back to the lusty satyrs of ancient Greece--are a zesty addition to the book, whose erotic greats include Blade, Etienne, Graewolf, and Quantance, each artist a stimulating precursor to today's self-pleasuring DVDs.
-San Francisco Bay Times

— SF Bay Times review

The authors and the press deserve a lot of credit and thanks for putting together this revised edition of the 1972 collection of erotic gay male art.... This is an excellent book that's comprehensive and fun.
-Torso magazine

— Torso Magazine

The book retains Falkon's witty profiles and commentary [from the original], updating it with the artists' real names whenever possible, and adds a long introduction by Waugh, along with some clever interpretative captions.... The book has unquestionable value as a look into the fantasy life of gay men from the 1950s to the 70s.
-Bay Area Reporter

— Bay Area Reporter

Falkon and Waugh have done a huge service in presenting this historical material to us to enjoy, lust at and ponder over.

— Edge

This new edition is worth perusing for what it tells of an earlier era's depiction of sexuality and masculinity.... Those glancing at this volume will undoubtedly contemplate not only how much has changed but also how much has not in depicting gay male life.
-Canadian Book Review Annual

— Canadian Book Review Annual

Gay Art: A Historic Collection is essential reading for anyone interested in gay graphics, gay history, in the cultural history of the 1960s and 70s, sex in the arts, or plain old hot pictures....
-Inches Magazine (part of a 9-page article, including an interview with co-author Thomas Waugh)

— Inches Magazine

A treasure trove of early gay pornography.
-Chicago Free Press

— Chicago Free Press

Erotic gay male art is a very big category but this revised and updated edition of the bestselling Greenleaf book does a good job. Thomas Waugh really educates the reader with his excellent introduction and his captions for the illustrations throughout the book.
-Mandate magazine

— Mandate

Arty smut ... [including] a variety of accomplished, moving, alarming, and amusing works by artists, accompanied by engaging commentary.
-Outwords (Winnipeg)

— Outwords

Gay Art is not only fun to look at, but it puts the genre of gay art in an historical perspective that is well written and most informative.
-Liberty Press (Wichita, KS)

— Liberty Press (Wichita)
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Out of print

This edition is not currently available in bookstores. Check your local library or search for used copies at Abebooks.

About the Authors

Felix Lance Falkon

Felix Lance Falkon was author of the original book which was titled A Historic Collection of Gay Art, published by the now-defunct Greenleaf Classics in 1972.

Felix passed away on April 19, 2010.
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Thomas Waugh

Thomas Waugh is the award-winning author or co-author of numerous books, including five for Arsenal Pulp Press: Out/Lines, Lust Unearthed, Montreal Main: A Queer Film Classic (with Jason Garrison), Comin' At Ya! (with David L. Chapman), and Gay Art: A Historic Collection (with Felix Lance Falkon). His other books include Hard to Imagine, The Fruit Machine, The Romance of Transgression in Canada, and The Perils of Pedagogy: The Works of John Greyson. He is co-editor (with Matthew Hays) of Queer Film Classics, a series of monographs for Arsenal Pulp Press on classic LGBTQ films; titles in the series include Paris Is Burning, Strangers on a Train, Law of Desire, and Female Trouble. He is Professor Emeritus at Concordia University in Montreal,where founded the Concordia program in sexuality studies, the Concordia HIV/AIDS Project, and Queer Media Database Canada Quebec (mediaqueer.ca).

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