Not for Every Coffee Table
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Published in: March-April 2004 issue.


Art—A Sex BookArt—A Sex Book
John Waters and Bruce Hainley
Thames & Hudson
208 pages, $29.95 (paper)


The comedies of John Waters are practical exercises in æsthetic philosophy. This theme is sometimes fairly explicit, as in Pecker, about a young photographer who “sees art when it isn’t there,” and in Cecil B. Demented, in which a terroristic movie crew kidnaps a Hollywood star and forces her to act in a film, doing her own stunts. In his 1974 feature Female Trouble, Waters cast his favorite leading lady, Divine, as Dawn Davenport, who fires a gun at the audience for art during her nightclub act. In all of his films, the so-called “Pope of trash” raises, or at least implies, questions about the nature of beauty. Thus it’s hardly surprising that Waters, in collaboration with independent curator Bruce Hainley, has produced Art—A Sex Book, which is at once an art exhibit showcasing an eccentric curatorial sensibility and an idiosyncratic, introductory survey of the contemporary art world (or some of it, anyway).

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