Staples of life; food, air, water, coffee, cotton candy and PORN. My coffee table is getting full.
The sumptuous, 260-page potpourri of hot photos and concisely presented history Porn from Andy Warhol to X-Tube (Bruno Gmuender, hardcover, $69.99) is both a celebration and a funeral. Its author tells us what there is to know about the development of the art, and then lets current filmmakers and producers tell us the state of the art. It’s not a rosy prognosis that they offer, most likely because it impacts their income. When asked, Where’s porn headed? they answer, It’s headed toward extinction. But that’s only in the current format of delivery. “DVDs are dead,” says one industry maven. “The Web is where things are happening.”
This lively chronicle is aptly subtitled A Photographic Journey, and it is more scrapbook than schoolbook. The photos are copious in amount and glamorously reproduced in large size on heavyweight stock. Author Kevin Clarke’s essay perceptively traces the origins of gay American erotica from an initial acceptance generated by the pop-porn of Warhol and the art-porn of Kenneth Anger, to the hardcore porn that flowered in their wake. Clarke is a 44-year-old German musicologist, whose specialty is operetta. Showtunes and porn? Most gay men don’t find them strange bedfellows at all. Clarke’s several books on operetta (unfortunately not translated from German) have looked at the form’s intersection with gay sexuality. A paper Clarke presented in 2009, “The Pornography of Operetta,” kicked off his interest in the general history of gay porn.