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Invisible Dragon: Essays on Beauty & Other Matters

An expanded edition of Hickey’s controversial and exquisitely written apologia for beauty—championed by artists, reviled by art critics, and as powerful as ever 30 years on.

The 30th anniversary cloth edition brings back into print Dragon’s four essays on beauty and commingles them with newly discovered essays by the MacArthur Foundation “genius.” Art by Caravaggio, Bellini, Velázquez, Raphael, Warhol and Mapplethorpe is complemented by Hickey’s tributes to Dolly Parton and Richard Pryor, outing of John Rechy’s gay novel Numbers, essays on the art of writing and witty analysis of paintings by Ed Ruscha. An afterword by Hickey’s friend and Dragon’s editor queers the brash, heterosexual gambler as it situates the creation of Dragon squarely within the AIDS plague.

At the time, the book made beauty visible under the looming presence of death and bodily decay. Today, Hickey’s prescient diagnosis of the “therapeutic institution” resonates even louder and artists respond by harnessing beauty as a source of meaning and of joy.

- Dave Hickey
- 160 pages
- 5.8 inches W x 9 inches L
- Hardcover
- Art Issues Press
- 2023
- Art History
- Item #: 979-8987596500