John Potvin
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Cecil Beaton
Artifice as resistance
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Celebrated photographer, diarist and stage and costume designer Cecil Beaton was consumed by other peoples' interiors, the way they lived and the manner through which they staged the spaces of their notoriety and creative work. Artificiality, artifice and affectation infected in varied ways Beaton's fascination with the interior, principally produced within him through the sheer joy and genuine appreciation of thoughtful workmanship and the art and refinement of taste. Noël Coward self-consciously performed, Beaton had the courage to go public with his resistance, to place front and centre his effeminacy, artifice and sexual otherness within the public domain. Through the culturally burdened notion of taste, men like Beaton threatened the modernizing zeal of the new century. In the exercise of their taste in objects and interiors, queer men reinforced, even if unwittingly, stereotypes they were burdened with, stereotypes loaded with fear and loathing.

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