This week sees the publication of the newest issue of the Library’s LaTrobe Journal, titled Queen City of the South: Gay and Lesbian Melbourne, which provides me with the perfect excuse to highlight just a few of the “queer studies” resources we have in the Arts Library; and as usual, you can find a whole lot more by checking our catalogue.

Untitled # by Ross Watson

Bruno Gmünder Verlag, 2010 Bruno Gmünder Verlag, 2010

Now I couldn’t possibly have a post about gay art and not have local artist Ross Watson front and centre! This lavishly designed book from German publisher Bruno Gmunder includes many of Ross’s sophisticated (and at times humorous) reimaginings of Renaissance artists and genres, in beautiful reproductions. We also have a limited edition volume featuring many of his works, Overview, paintings 1987-2006, in our Rare Printed Collection. His extraordinary portrait of Australian diver Matthew Mitcham is now part of the National Portrait Gallery collection.

The sexual perspective : homosexuality and art in the last 100 years in the West by Emmanuel Cooper

Routledge, 1994 Routledge, 1994

Originally published in 1986, this 2nd edition from 1994 substantially revised what was an already well received survey of homosexuality in art. For this edition the author greatly expanded the coverage of lesbian artists, as well as exploring in greater depth the impact on the visual arts of the AIDS crisis. It remains a central survey and, somewhat contrary to its title, also includes discussion of older artists such as Michelangelo and Caravaggio (hard to ignore!).

The queer encyclopedia of the visual arts edited by  Claude J. Summers

Cleis Press, 2004 Cleis Press, 2004

This very entertaining and very broad encyclopedia covers an array of subjects, from entries on individual artists to discussions on gay iconography (what is it about images of St. Sebastian?) and investigations of gay pulp-fiction cover art. Something for just about everyone!

Lesbian art : an encounter with power by Elizabeth Ashburn

Craftsman House, 1996 Craftsman House, 1996

Elizabeth Ashburn’s 1996 work remains an essential resource for the study of the lesbian artist in Australia, covering women working in a large number of practices from painting and sculpture through to performance art, film and video as well as various craft forms. The author places these activities within the political and social culture of the day, outlining the impact on the arts of the gay liberation movement and its most visible outcome, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

Man to man : a history of gay photography by Pierre Borhan, Olivier Saillard, Gilles Mora


Vendome Press, 2007 Vendome Press, 2007

There can be little doubt that photography has become the great popular visual art of our time, as adept at transforming as it is at documenting. This history of male photography demonstrates how, from its earliest days, photography was used to visualise “the love that dare not speak its name”.


Coming up next, music and the performing arts!

Wikimedia Commons Wikimedia Commons

This article has 2 comments

  1. Kerry Greenwood

    JUST as I was researching a novel on the queer scene in Melb in 1928 what wonderful timing.
    If anyone knows anything about the subj, please contact me, the trouble with underground history is that its – well – underground…


  2. Kerry apart from this fascinating new issue of the LaTrobe journal, which is now available, there is another recently published volume, Secret Histories of Queer Melbourne edited by Graham Willett (Parkville,: Australian Lesbian & Gay Archives, 2011). The Library’s copy hasn’t yet been received but I’ve certainly seen it around the shops, including Melbourne’s own gay and lesbian bookshop, Hares and Hyenas in Fitzroy.

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