Open Me

Finding beautiful boys, bordello interiors, and worldwide Jews in the season's most intriguing coffee-table books

Grande Dame: Burlesque Hall of Fame proprietor Dixie Evans, 71, gets ready backstage (from Aging in America).
photo: Ed Kashi/Powerhouse books
Grande Dame: Burlesque Hall of Fame proprietor Dixie Evans, 71, gets ready backstage (from Aging in America).

Joyce Kozloff's limited-edition Boys' Art (D.A.P., 60 pp., $125) is one of this season's most eccentric coffee-table books—a tantalizing collision of cartography, aggression, and fantasy. An ardent pacifist, Kozloff sketched intricate maps of historical battles, then peopled them with primitive warriors cut out from her son's childhood drawings and from other surprising sources like Leonardo da Vinci and Henry Darger. Look closely at the colorful street grid of Nagasaki and you'll notice swarms of armed Tintin characters shooting recklessly all over the city; her meticulous drawing of the Citadel of Hue, meanwhile, is bordered by caped superheroes and ninjas, products of a boy's teeming daydreams. Kozloff tussles with history, imagination, and war inside these fetching scenarios, making Boys' Art a pretty book about ugly fantasies.

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