John Waters: Indecent Exposure
University of California Press
You might know him from cult classics of the raunchier kind like Pink Flamingos or his emissions that appealed more to mainstream audiences, e.g. Hairspray. and other great, funny and raunchy movies.
John Waters is many things: Style icon, agent provocateur, artists and film director being only few of the many facets that comprise his personality and creative output.
Indecent Exposure is an ode to his photographic emissions from the early ninety-nineties to the present day and age. The eye candy is substantiated with essays by contemporary art aficionados and academic types along with an interview with Waters.
How would one describe Waters’ work you ask?
Hmmm, whimsical, at time deliberately in advocacy of bad taste, witty and more often than not vulgar for the sake of vulgarity but never without another dimension added to it and thereby provoking deeper thoughts regarding the state of affairs in this fact paced and often plastic world of ours.
A weak spot for the demimonde specifically that of his hometown Baltimore pervades every aspect of the book and his annual exhibitions form the foundation for this book, for which Indecent Exposure doubles as a catalogue.
The artwork of the book with its stained brown wrapping paper and John Waters being portrayed as a Pepping Tom is more than suitable and sets the right tone for his explorations of the (fake) world of celebrities and the gears that keep the machinery recklessly moving forward.
Despite having a Sendungsbewusstsein, John Waters is always delightful, playful and enjoyable and it is up to the beholder in how far one chooses to actively interact and dig deeper when it comes to embedded meanings, allusions and criticisms his oeuvre conveys and how it questions the status quo.