Taschen | 460 pages | $49.99
Depending on how gay your household is, Pierre Commoy and Gilles Blanchard may be household names; for the rest of us, this ubiquitous yet undersung duo of French artists is finally getting the big, glossy props they deserve, in the form of this honkin’ Taschen retrospective.
Imagine a metacampy, hyperstylized mashup of James Bidgood, David LaChappele, John Waters, and whoever the hell shoots Inches magazine, and you have a sense of the otherworldly allure of these photos. Sometimes their subjects seem coaxed from the periphery of seedy Genet novels — dark, dirty, beautiful, suspended in celluloid; other times, they are airbrushed to flawlessness, saturated in white light, aggressively aglitter. It’s 400 straight pages of young gods in jeans, ephebes in highly detectable states of becoming and, well, a few dozen very impressive cocks. Elsewhere, Lizzie Jagger, ensconced in roses, coyly blocks her left nip with an iridescent golf ball; Paloma Picasso is buried up to her elbows in glittering sand and flanked by fake crabs; and a woman named only as “Lola” holds some guy’s junk the way Marilyn Monroe might a Gauloises. Never before have Aryan muscle boys taking sudsy showers shimmered this perfectly — and never before has your Ansel Adams coffee-table book been quite this uncomfortable.
, John Waters, Marilyn Monroe, Ansel Adams, More