John Waters: Change Of Life
by Marvin Heiferman, Gary Indiana, Lisa Phillips; Harry N. Abrams: February 2004, 142pp. (hardcover)
Once crowned The Pope of Trash by William Burroughs, and now hailed as the genius behind the smash-hit Broadway musical Hairspray, John Waters (b. 1946) is not only a controversial director, but also a powerful, perceptive visual artist. This book, published on the occasion of his first major museum exhibition, surveys his still photographic works made over the past decade, and also features stills from his seldom-seen no-budget films and objects from Waters’s personal collection that reflect his fascination with photographic imagery, the mass media, and outrageous expressions of American popular culture.
Waters’s newer photographic work echoes themes that are central to all his work: race, sex, class, family, politics, celebrity, religion, the media, the allure of crime, glamour, and the skewering of cultural symbols and stereotypes. Waters’s longevity as a cultural figure reflects his unique ability to tap into our most private attractions to the erotic, perverse, and sleazy, blatantly unleashing thoughts that polite society tries diligently to repress. As he moves from margin to mainstream, Waters’s work in films, photography, and performance continues to resonate.