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Angry Women
Angry Women, Re/Search, 1999Courtesy of Climax Books

Sex, Love and Desire: Inside Climax Books’ Valentine’s Day Takeover

On Valentine’s Day, Isabella Burley talks us through some of the most heart-racing books and ephemera available at her online bookshop – from works by Nan Goldin and Nobuyoshi Araki to Sofia Coppola and Deana Lawson

Lead ImageAngry Women, Re/Search, 1999Courtesy of Climax Books

LAX, Sofia Coppola, CD Set, 1999

Sofia Coppola’s imagemaking always has a romance to it. This special CD-ROM zine LAX from 1999 features over 90 images of her friends (including Kim Gordon with baby Coco), collaborators and family – it features her cousin Gia Coppola on the cover. It was made while Sofia was in Tokyo shooting for Japanese fashion magazines.

Clit Club, flyer, 1990

Clit Club was the boldly-named lesbian party that lasted from 1990 until 2002, and had a particularly significant impact on lesbian life in 1990s New York City. It was founded by two women of colour, Jocelyn Taylor (aka Jaguar Mary) and Julie Tolentino; and was held on Friday nights at 432 West 14th Street. This particular flyer advertised a party celebrating Valentine's Day and Black History Month.

Lover Girl, flyer, 1998

Lover Girl was the queer club night which ran every Saturday in New York City during the late 90s. Dedicated to drag kings and drag queens, the night was hosted by Mo B Dick, head of the legendary Club Casanova. There were special performances by Murray Hill, Dred and Cinnamon, and a competition where contestants had the chance to be filmed for the TV special God Shave the Queen.

Tokyo Love, Nan Goldin & Nobuyoshi Araki, 1994

I love that Nan and Araki are making out on the cover! One of the best photobooks of 90s Japanese teenagers shot by Nan Goldin and Araki, running side by side in this book.

LUST (Lesbians Undoing Sexual Taboos), flyer, 1992

Another iconic piece of ephemera from New York’s lesbian scene in the late 90s. The LUST (Lesbians Undoing Sexual Taboos) post-conference party in New York City, was a queer night welcoming performers, scene dykes, exhibitionists, voyeurs, butches, bottoms, drag kings, tops and femmes at 507 West St. The initial conference, which was held at New York University in 1992, included workshops called ‘Toys R Us: Ropes, Whips and Dicks’ and ‘Ins And Outs: Satisfaction Guaranteed’ with acclaimed sexologist Annie Sprinkle, where women were invited on stage to wear rubber gloves and find her G-spot.

Believe, Walter Van Beirendonck, 1999

Making out with your identical partner with horns: hot! The best shoot by Juergen Teller which centred on the French artist Orlan – Walter’s muse for the season – and her fantastical plastic surgery body artworks on Alexander McQueen and Devon Aoki.

Untitled, Deana Lawson, 2018

Deana Lawson’s intimate but stylised images of couples hold so much power. This will forever be one of my favourite books.

Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, 2020

I love Paul Mpagi Sepuya’s early portraits of his friends (mostly made in the years after he moved to Brooklyn, from 2005-2008). There is such tenderness and intimacy to each of these images, and as his visual practice has developed it feels very special to look back at these.

Sister, Sister, Liv Liberg, 2021

Sisterly love is also important to celebrate on Valentine’s Day – and there is no more of an iconic duo than Britt and Liv Liberg. Liv’s Sister Sister is a rich and expansive documentation of her little sister Britt, who Liv has taken pictures of since she was ten and Britt was six. Over the course of 15 years, the pair would sneak through their parents’ incredible wardrobe to wear Yohji Yamamoto or Comme des Garçons creations in the increasingly experimental, DIY shoots. “The most fun part for me was dressing up,” Britt writes on the book’s back cover. “The shoots were always dramatic. We were either laughing so hard that taking photos was impossible, or we were fighting, like sisters do.”

The Virgin Suicides, Sofia Coppola, postcard, 1999

A Valentine’s Day card written on a original The Virgin Suicides postcard featuring the Lisbon girls doing handstands would be the chicest. I’m addicted to finding Sofia Coppola movie ephemera and there’s always lots on the site.

Angry Women, Re/Search, 1999

This is the ultimate literary bible, featuring longform interviews with feminist theorist bell hooks, avant-garde writer Kathy Acker, pioneering performance artist Carolee Schneemann and 13 other iconic feminist figureheads. “Anger is an emotion which must be reclaimed and legitimised as Woman’s rightful, healthy expression – anger can be a source of power, strength and clarity as well as a creative force,” write editors Andrea Juno and V Vale in the introduction. Full of punk black-and-white photographs and illustrations, Angry Women pushed the boundaries of what feminism could look like in the early 1990s – topics including menstruation, masturbation, vibrators, failed utopias and the death of the 60s are all discussed.