Bound together

Leather, sex, archives, and contemporary art

By Andy Campbell

Bound together


  • Hardcover
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-4282-5
  • Pages: 280
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £20.00
  • Published Date: January 2020
  • BIC Category: Society & social sciences / Material culture, HISTORY / Historiography, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Human Sexuality (see also PSYCHOLOGY / Human Sexuality), ART / Criticism & Theory, Society & social sciences / Sociology: sexual relations, Humanities / Historiography, Art History
  • Series: Rethinking Art's Histories


What are the archives of gay and lesbian leather histories, and how have contemporary artists mined these archives to create a queer politics of the present? This book sheds light on an area long ignored by traditional art history and LGBTQ studies, examining the legacies of the visual and material cultures of US leather communities. It discusses the work of contemporary artists such as Patrick Staff, Dean Sameshima, Monica Majoli, AK Burns and AL Steiner, and the artist collective Die Kränken, showing how archival histories and contemporary artistic projects might be applied in a broader analysis of LGBTQ culture and norms. Hanky codes, blurry photographs of Tom of Finland drawings, a pin sash weighted down with divergent histories - these become touchstones for writing leather histories.


'An elegantly disciplined page turner, Bound Together interweaves the various cultures of leather sex and the archive with solid research, sly humor, and patient interpretation. In this context, Campbell's sections on a selected group of contemporary and modern artists are particularly insightful.'
Catherine Lord, Claire Trevor School of the Arts, University of California, Irvine

'Sex is good to think with, but Andy Campbell's leathersex is even better. This exuberant, challenging, perceptive, cleverly crafted and generously illustrated study explores the role of BDSM in visual and material art, performance and archival practice - while, in the process, becoming its own sexual archive. A new kind of art history, Bound together transforms our comprehensions of sex and apprehensions of the archive.'
Professor Barry Reay, author of New York Hustlers and Sex in the Archives


List of plates
List of figures
1 Introduction: bound together
2 The work of the master's hand
3 How to talk about Tom
4 Yellow, or reading archives diagonally
5 Numbers
6 'Clubs that don't exist anymore'
7 Attached to history
8 'Deep fist at the Modern'
9 Conclusion: surrogates, envelopes
Select bibliography


Andy Campbell is Assistant Professor of Critical Studies at USC Roski School of Art and Design

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