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Pier Groups


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Table of Contents

ContentsList of Illustrations Acknowledgments Introduction 1. Initiations 2. Material for Blackmail 3. Degenerate Structure 4. David Wojnarowicz in New York 5. The Pickup Machine 6. Something Possible Everywhere Epilogue Notes Index

About the Author

Jonathan Weinberg is the curator of the Maurice Sendak Foundation and teaches at the Yale School of Art and the Rhode Island School of Design. He is the author of Male Desire: The Homoerotic in American Art and Ambition and Love in Modern American Art and a coeditor, with Alejandro Anreus and Diana Linden, of The Social and the Real, also published by Penn State University Press. He is the lead curator for the touring exhibition Art After Stonewall, 1969-1989, organized by the Columbus Museum of Art to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall riots. His paintings are in many public and private collections, including those of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Montclair Art Museum.


"An alluring homage to a time, a community, and a landscape that have long since vanished."

-Jeremy Allen, The New York Times

"Eminent queer art historian Jonathan Weinberg makes the case for how powerfully gay male social life, cruising, and public sex were of a piece in the early days of LGBT liberation. In the wake of oppression that brutally enforced queer invisibility, a newly burgeoning movement sought to colonize public spaces for queer desires. Merging the political with the erotic, queer public spaces such as the piers have become quasi-mythic embodiments of gay life before AIDS changed everything. Weinberg here strips away the myth with a careful social history of the most influential, if unseen, crucible of gay liberation at the moment when the full meaning of that term was only beginning to be realized."

-Jonathan D. Katz, author of Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture

"A compelling memorial to a lost world."

-Barry Reay, Times Higher Education

"Weinberg's careful research of these diverse practices makes for a meandering read, but one that offers surprising moments of beauty and coincidence as artists encounter each other on the waterfront."

-Kyle Croft, Art in America

"Powerfully moving and full of life, Pier Groups immerses the reader in an episode on the literal fringe, the derelict Hudson waterfront of lower Manhattan, and makes it central to the legendary art scenes of the 1970s and 1980s. Vividly illustrated with new photographic discoveries, Jonathan Weinberg's fluent and searching work captures a vibrant lost community in which he plays a part as chronicler, interpreter, and participant."

-Thomas E. Crow, author of The Long March of Pop: Art, Music, and Design, 1930-1995

"Weinberg looks deeply into sexual cultures and artistic practices unfolding on the piers in the 1970s and considers the ways the art and cruising scenes are intercalated. His understanding of history, which rejects the logic of cause and effect, and his nonlinear approach to historical narration open new perspectives on artists about whom much has already been written."

-Tirza Latimer, author of Women Together / Women Apart: Portraits of Lesbian Paris

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