[U]nexamined assumptions about something as powerful as intimacy make for stories that are full of stereotypes and stereotypical behavior. This is depressing. And it’s not art. By continually rearticulating how she conceives the different types of intimate relationships wrought by the best writers in this and the last century, D’Erasmo cleverly prepares us to accept that intimacy, necessarily, is a bit of a mystery, and that it is only when writers question their received ideas about intimacy that they are able to transcend sentimentality and produce stories that better illuminate this powerful, mysterious, frequently shape-shifting human experience.
(Photo from Nan Goldin’s Scopophilia exhibit, currently being shown at the Matthew Marks Gallery, “which pairs intensely personal portraits of Goldin’s friends and lovers with classic images from the Louvre” and is featured prominently in The Art of Intimacy. © Nan Goldin, Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery.)