Laurie Simmons from Two Boys and the Love Doll (2015)
Her new work focuses on life-size objects, mail-order female sex dolls and male CPR dummies. The CAM exhibit consists of 20 photographs, several of which show a closed-eyed, open-mouthed figure in front of a laptop screen. These images raise important questions about isolation, especially given the figure’s original purpose. The doll itself is meant to be physically engaged with, to breathe life into a human that needs to be resuscitated.
Shari Pierce 300 Sex Offenders from Within a 5 mile Radius (2011)
Betty Tompkins various (1969 – 1974)
The large scale photorealistic paintings of heterosexual intercourse which Betty Tompkins made between 1969 and 1974 were practically unknown when they were exhibited together for the first time in New York in 2002. Knowledge of Tompkins’ paintings immediately broadened the repertoire of first generation feminist-identified imagery. More significantly, their materialization made manifest an unacknowledged precursor to contemporary involvement with explicit sexual and transgressive imagery. Shown at the Lyon Biennale in 2003 beside Steve Parrino’s equally wayward abstractions, Betty Tompkins’ work garnered extraordinary attention. The first painting in the series – there are only eight extant early Fuck Paintings – was acquired for the permanent collection of the Centre Pompidou/CNAC in Paris. (A satisfying postscript given that the paintings were detained by customs officials and ultimately denied entrance to France in 1973; a situation that was repeated two years ago when Tompkin’s work was sent to a gallery in Japan.)
Cheng Li Sensitive Times (2011)
Beijing-based performance artist Cheng Li, 57, was sentenced to one year of “re-education through labor” for “disturbing public order” on Friday by Tongzhou district branch of the Municipal Public Security Bureau, according to Cheng’s lawyer, Wang Zhenyu. Cheng’s detention is linked his work entitled Sensitive Times at the Songzhuang Art Zone in Tongzhou district on March 20, where he showed a couple simulating sexual intercourse in the basement of the Beijing Museum of Contemporary Art, which Cheng claimed an expression of how art had “sold out” and “anyone can do it.” The case brings to light “re-education through labor” sentences, a system of administrative detention handed down by the public security bureau rather than through the judicial system, a common practice which lawyers claim is not codified in the Chinese Constitution.
Sarah Lucas from I SCREAM DADDIO (2015)
John Miller, Richard Hoeck Sex Appeal of the Inorganic (2016)
Beyond the brutality of breaking humanoid figures, lies a soteriological opportunity, a hint of salvation. An empty promise, maybe. Now it’s over, some would claim, but an ending may be read as either a period or a colon. What comes next after a disaster or a happy ending? Three days after Flight 9525 crashed, the European Aviation Safety Agency issued a temporary recommendation to require that at least two people remain in the cockpit at all times whenever an aircraft is airborne.
Darja Bajagić various (2014 – 2015)
Just 24 years old, the Montenegro-born, New York-based artist has been a nomad since childhood, living in cities including Cairo and Chicago. Her work, which incorporates pornographic imagery and serial killer “murderabilia,” seems to be the beginning of a career that will surely garner a lot of the attention from the art world and the Internet. Even before graduating, Bajagić was already whipping up controversy within the Yale MFA department, albeit unintentionally. The head of the department, art historian Robert Storr, had such a problem with her use of pornography that he called her crazy and suggested she go to therapy on Yale’s budget. Her interest in pornography, Bajagić says, is primarily cultural. She recalls her earlier works as being stylistically minimal, but she eventually sought to merge the conventions of painting and porn. By employing certain compositional strategies she wants to prod viewers into deconstructing her images, rather than simply seeing pornographic photos laden with gendered meaning, or focusing on why a female artist would be interested in pornography in the first place.
Lutz Bacher Sex with Strangers (2014)
In Sex with Strangers, a key early work, the artist made photographic enlargements of illustrations and captions from a book that purports to be a cautionary sociology study about female psychology and deviant sexual behavior but is, in fact, pulp pornography.
Martin Soto Climent Tight on Canvas (Bridget) (2010)
Casja von Zeibel A Party Of Snow Elves (2014)
Strange white female figures, made out of three different materials combined, styrofoam, jesmonite, and plaster, seem to perform arcobatic sex – a kind of frozen Kama Sutra.
Torbjørn Rødland various (2007 – 2016)
We’ve seen it before: the hazy glow, the casual perversity, the entire picture made punctum. But we hadn’t seen it before photographer TORBJØRN RØDLAND took up the lens more than twenty years ago, capturing scenes of allure, sex, style—and we’ve never seen it quite like this, in strange focus, unsettlingly backlit, infused with tactility and dread.
Kang Yi Untitled (2013)
In an unusual exhibition of art last month, Chinese performance artist Kang Yi stood, nearly naked, on a raised podium in an auditorium in Guangzhou. With his arms outstretched and tied to a wooden plank across his shoulders, Kang remained completely still as a woman doled out hundreds of hickeys on his chest, abdomen and arms. The woman, a female art student, continued to bite and bruise Kang with her lips for an hour and a half before dousing him with basins of water at the end of the performance
Charles Ray Oh! Charley, Charley, Charley (1992)
Oh! Charley, Charley, Charley… (1992) is a sculpture of eight lifelike Charles Rays engaged in mutual masturbation. Ray, however, seems to be in deep denial about why the piece might spark curiosity about what’s going on inside his head. “I used my genitalia — that’s not important,” he says. “People make a big deal out of that. But you know, should I ask my assistant if I can use his?” The piece, he insists, was born of a desire to fashion a compelling multifigure sculpture, and nothing of his true self was revealed. But if there is no connection to his own identity, why did he give each figure his face, and why on earth did he name the thing after himself? Now he’s stumped. “No, that’s true, you’re right. It was my face and my name.” He pauses. “Is that interesting?”
Katarina Janeckova various (2010 – 2015)
Katarina Janeckova‘s paintings are overtly sexual and energetic, strange pictures of her and a bear in various positions, in public and private spaces; an art gallery, at the kitchen sink, in a bathroom, en plein air. Each image a potent mix of sex, domination, romance and mystery all wrapped up in a mythological landscape. A wish fulfilment dressed up as an X-rated folk story. Her use of pastel colours and bright breezy brush strokes give her pictures a sublime energy, as if we’re in the room, have stumbled across this bestial exhibitionist couple who love nothing better than getting it off infront of an audience. Unsettling in their psychological content they are nonetheless imbued with a sweetness and an innocence, the bear harmless, yet strong and dominant, a metaphor for the complications and emotional tensions that come with sexual awakening, with need and desire, yearning and horror. Perhaps her pictures are simply a play on the truth of life in a sexualized world. Of life in her native Slovakia.
Millie Wilson various (1990 – 1995)
Goshka Macuga Before the Beginning and After the End (detail, 2016)
Sebastian Martorana various (2012 – 2016)
Douglas Gordon and Tobias Rehberger After the After (2015)
After the After considers Ibiza’s status as an iconic place of hedonism, parties and decadence while examining the ‘after-point’ that occurs when this ultimately comes to an end, a time of emptiness and paranoia when one should not be left alone. The works in the exhibition range in media including film, painting, and sculpture and are situated both within the confines of the museum and displayed outside in the surrounding city environment. At the centre of After the After is a work comprising two parts based on the same section of film of two men engaging in sexual intercourse. Rehberger has constructed a large 5m x 5m ‘tile painting’(see above) depicting the upper half of the men, their faces and torsos, displayed on the terrace wall on the exterior of the museum. On viewing the tile painting close-up the image is totally abstract – totally pixelated from the individual tiles – only when viewed from a distance or through a smartphone screen does the image become distinct and concrete. This optical illusion forges a physical and ultimately emotional distance from the viewer to the intimate moment depicted. In his response, Gordon focuses on the lower half of the men via a film of their moving legs. The film is projected onto a wall inside the museum that can also be viewed from outside alongside Rehberger’s monumental tile painting.
Vito Acconci Seedbed (1971)
In January 1971, Acconci performed Seedbed intermittently at New York’s Sonnabend Gallery. On days he performed, visitors entered to find the gallery empty except for a low wooden ramp. Below the ramp, out of sight, Acconci masturbated, basing his sexual fantasies on the movement of visitors above him. He narrated these fantasies aloud, his voice projected through speakers into the gallery.
Sarah Anne Johnson Golden Boy (2013)
Carolee Schneemann Meat Joy (1964)
Meat Joy is an erotic rite — excessive, indulgent, a celebration of flesh as material: raw fish, chicken, sausages, wet paint, transparent plastic, ropes, brushes, paper scrap. Its propulsion is towards the ecstatic — shifting and turning among tenderness, wildness, precision, abandon; qualities that could at any moment be sensual, comic, joyous, repellent. Physical equivalences are enacted as a psychic imagistic stream, in which the layered elements mesh and gain intensity by the energy complement of the audience. The original performances became notorious and introduced a vision of the ‘sacred erotic.
Thomas Ruff Nudes (2012)
Taken from porn sites, Thomas Ruff’s ongoing series Nudes thwarts the urge to see more and more – and by so doing brings us back to our senses. I mean that literally – to the blurry imprecision of the senses. Several contradictory things go on depending on which photographs you are looking at (or even while looking at the same picture). Porn takes the universal desire to have sex and delivers it and improves on it: perfect bodies, no disease or impotence (as suffered by the porn-addicted Michael Fassbender in Steve McQueen’s film Shame), no heartbreak, no regrets, no consequences. But by blurring these images Ruff improves them in the opposite direction. They acquire the uncertainty of memory, the imprecision of unenacted fantasy, the unfocusable swirl of the unconscious, of dreams. Or nightmares in which the idyll becomes either leeringly horrible or ludicrous and laughable. Though they are arranged with only one thing in mind, the original lighting is coaxed into gorgeous subtleties; colours become nuanced, delicate, or expressionistically garish. Acts and actors become more intimate than – and more remote from – the way they appeared on screen. The photographs impart a lyricism to the source material; or, particularly in the recent work, they lay bare the ghastliness and vulgarity of an industry that aims to service desire so thoroughly, so instantly.
Bruce Nauman Seven Figures (1985)
An orgy lit out in playful neon. It is like a people puzzle. The work switches on and off in phases after each other. I was surprised at how strongly people still respond to the depiction of the scene itself (It was amusing to observe an old man and his teenage grandson pass by) To me the glow of the light and the movement elevates the image from a graphic to something quite enigmatic. Also the sound that comes with the switching of the neon adds to the rhythm of movement. It is the neon which has this lively energy.
Amy Bennett various (2005 – 2007)
I am interested in the fragility of relationships and people’s awkwardness in trying to coexist and relate to one another. To that end I create miniature 3D models to serve as evolving still lifes from which I paint detailed narrative paintings. Using cardboard, foam, wood, paint, glue, and model railroad miniatures, I construct various fictional, scale models. Recent models have included a neighborhood, lake, theater, doctor’s office, church, and numerous domestic interiors. The models become a stage on which I develop narratives. They offer me complete control over lighting, composition, and vantage point to achieve a certain dramatic effect. — AB
Nayland Blake Gorge (1998)
More recently, actually over the last 10 years or so, I have been involved in the BDSM community and I really consider what I and other people do there as performance art. It is an environment in which the audience and performers are co-extensive. It’s about people making meaning for each other, using skills and physical experience. It’s about exploring that relationship to power in a very particular way. I meet people in that environment who are experts in that. One of the things I have learned there is that power is only problematic when it’s fixed, when it is not mobile. All relationships have power dynamics, it is only a problem when power accrues to a particular location and is not allowed to move to any other place. Sometimes you want to be on the top, sometimes you want to be on the bottom and you see kids play with that dynamic all the time. I don’t think power is wrong in of itself; you cannot remove power from personal interactions. But you can examine power; is it fixed? Is it mobile? How does it move from one person or place to another? How does consent operate in any given dynamic. In a sense that is what democracy is – a power relationship based on consent as opposed to one based on force. And that is one of the things kinky people talk about a lot – what is consent? What does it mean? How do you confirm its existence? So that’s a place where these things are being talked about on a very deep level, certainly more deeply than the art world.
Vartan Eytan (2014)
A young boy made out of plaster sits in an unnatural and vulnerable position, knees splayed and hands clutching his heels from behind. He is naked except for a loincloth and a blindfold. A section of his sculpted arm is missing. This is Eytan, a sculpture by Vartan, a queer former Orthodox Jew from Chechnya whose sculptures and paintings mostly explore demonic and sexual themes. “My work always shows a state of human spirit. Demons and angels, pain and uncontrollable desire, fear and loneliness. The naked body in sculpture represents a spiritual condition. I am not interested in ‘politically correct’ art because it’s boring. Shock, controversy, and honesty. These are the three principles of my art.”
Maria Eichhorn Film Lexicon of Sexual Practices 1999/2005/2008/2014/2015 (1999 – 2015)
During the exhibition films were shot, depicting the first entries Eyes, Mouth, Breast Licking and Cunnilingus. In the course of each exhibition of the work in the years 2005, 2008, 2014 and 2015 new films were produced. The individual films are available in the exhibition situation in film cans labeled with the respective film title, to be played upon request, and are screened in a not darkened exhibition space. A text applied to the wall contains the list of all films and the information “The films will be screened upon request.” The scenes, shot mainly with a static camera against a neutral background, show close-ups of the practices identified in the titles, and are silent. 20 films (16 mm, color, silent, each approx. 2:40 minutes): Anal Coitus (2008), Anilingus (2008), Breast Licking (1999), Clitoris (2014), Cunnilingus (1999), Ear (2014), Ear Licking (2005), Eyes (1999), Feet (2014), Fellatio (2008), French Kissing (2005), Japanese Bondage (2015), Love Bite (2005), Masturbation (Man) (2008), Masturbation (Woman) (2014), Milk Bath (2014), Mouth (1999), Needle Play (2015), Vulva (2014), Wax Play (2015); film screening, wall text.
The Kid Blessed is the Lamb Whose Blood Flows, Humanity is Overrated, Rise and Rise Again Until Lambs Become Lions (2013 – 2014)
The art that 22-year old artist The Kid creates spans genres. He describes his work as “forever caught between innocence and corruption,” and the well-executed pieces are compelling with their huge, detailed, Bic pen-drawn faces and hyper-realistic sculpted bodies. Photos of his sculptures, made from materials such as platinum silicon, glass fiber, oil paint, human hair, cotton, and mixed fabrics, force you to look, and look again, in order to believe that they are, in fact, inanimate objects.
Voina Fuck for the Heir Puppy Bear! (2008)
Actionist art collective Voina (“War” in Russian) hosted an orgy at the Timiryazev State Biological Museum in Moscow called Fuck for the Heir Puppy Bear! (words plastered on a black flag that served as their backdrop). The slogan refers to Dmitry Medvedev, the Prime Minister of Russia whose last name means “of the bears.” Said one member of the event: “This is a portrait of pre-election Russia: everybody fucks each other, and the puppy bear looks at that with an unconcealed scorn.”
Jimmy De Sana various (1979 – 1986)
Jimmy De Sana (November 12, 1949 – July 27, 1990) was an American artist, and a key figure in the East Village punk art scene of the 1970s and 1980s. De Sana’s photography has been described as “anti-art” in its approach to capturing images of the human body, in a manner ranging from “savagely explicit to purely symbolic”. William S. Burroughs wrote the introduction to his collection of photographs Submission which was self-published in 1980.
p.s. Hey. ** L@rstonovich, L- Sweet! Thank you! I just peeked and overheard the first 20 or so seconds and it sounds really good, man. I’ll go further in a bit. I don’t think I’ve ever read Gay Talese, weird. Huh. Funny how writers whose names you’re read for most of your life can just fly by. Thanks, man, you’re the best. ** Math, Hi. Thanks, bud. Scary/ sweet/ dumb/ high brow DeAundra is a singular cult legend. Oh, I agree the slaves I cherry pick are pretty good writers, but they ain’t you and yours, and that’s just a fact. So I may in fact holler. Ears perked. Love, me. ** Dóra Grőber, Hey! Thanks, cool, that’s happy-making. I love and admire how you’re always pushing yourself into new realms in your work. You’re a searcher as well as a finesse-r. I always try to be that too. Good, good, good that RHCP didn’t let you down. Nothing like a great gig. There’s kind of nothing else that’s so up there. I haven’t seen music live in ages for no reason. My back might be improving today. It’s always a little hard to tell in the morning, but, yeah, it might be fixing itself. Hope so. Yesterday was pretty painful, so I didn’t do a ton, which is fine because I have a ton of work to do, so I chipped at that. Mostly preparing with Zac for the film funding tribunal next week. Our producer, who’s really cool, has set up a ‘mock trial’ situation for us early next week so we can rehearse our pitch and get queried by a stand-in committee of film people. So we’re trying to become charming experts on our new film, and that was yesterday’s main drift. Did you have or do anything over the weekend that particularly excited you? ** Dynomoose, Hi! Michael didn’t react as far as I can tell. Maybe he has been turned to into a reclusive DeAundra addict. ** Thomas Moronic, Hi, T! Yeah, DeAundra was kind of a genius construction. Still is, although she/he rarely performs these days. The way her persona and act mixes together so many contradictory aspects is really something, very druggy in a particular way or something. Halloween! Thanks for your listening list. Yeah, the new Frank Ocean is very good, very impressive. I haven’t heard the new Autechre or that SY archive release yet, but I will. Bon! Frieze Art Fair is pretty gross, but you do get to see a lot of stuff, but that stuff is stuffed together in such a way that it’s hard to concentrate on individual pieces. It’s really like a Walmart, and the art are products on the equivalent of shelves, but, yeah, if you’ve never been to an art fair, Frieze is a good one to use as your initiation. And there is a funness to be had if you can dial back the context’s wealth-coddling heart. I’ll be curious to hear how it suits you. ** Nemo, Hi. I don’t live at the Recollets anymore. Yeah, check with Joel for the updates. That’s the easiest way to do it. ** Steve Lafreniere, Hi, Steve! A joy, an honor, and much more to have you here, pal and maestro! She is an — if not the — epitome of utterly uncategorizable. I’m good. You good? You seem very good to judge by the Facebook evidence. Take care, Steve! ** Steevee, Hi. Good news about the Danny Field doc. I very definitely want to see that. He was involved tangentially or more in some of the greatest music of the ’70s, and as someone who thinks the first Ramones album is probably the greatest record in the history of rock, that’s reason enough to want to go behind his scenes. Thanks for the report. ‘Abandoned’ cool, okay, I don’t know anything about that. I will definitely investigate. Thank you a lot for that tip too. Let me know what you think of it. ** Paul Curran, Hi, Paul! It’s so good to see you in the new digs. Thanks, man. Welcome back to you too! How was Taiwan? How is the new novel going? ** Sypha, Hi, James. Really, that’s the only rock doc you’ve ever seen? How did you manage to not do that? Wow. I think siding with the victims is the best way to read Sade, but I’m a softie too, despite all the evidence to the contrary. You’ll notice I don’t do monthly Master posts. Dude, I promise there are tons of superb French writers you haven’t read. Even you. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. Thank you a lot for being hard at work on that. I so appreciate it. ** Wolf, Hi, W-y! Crazy shit is right. I miss crazy shit. Ha ha, wow, that video. Thanks, buddy. Wow. I’ve only had a fraction of a second’s peek so far at the Wikipedia entry but I can already say it outstrips every slave’s butt I’ve ever seen, and, trust me, I’ve seen a lot. In, you know, photos, I mean. I want to be in nerd zone! Wait, maybe I already am. Am I? ** Jamie McMorrow, Hi, Jamie! Thanks for stopping by before you take off. If you see this before you go offline, have a perfect, and I mean perfect trip. And make sure your memory preserves some highlights so I can partake a little. Enjoy France. I’ll be many kilometers north wishing the very best for you guys. Lots of love back, Dennis. ** Schoolboyerrors, D, sir. Me too. I mean, duh, about the interesting nature of those posts and profiles. Believe it or not, I don’t exactly know what’s going on with those posts either. I really do like how they seem cut-and-dried but how that take on them is so self-defeating or something. Providers of shitty WiFi should have their day in court. In the Hague even. I’m sorry. She is, right? DeAundra. I’m glad you think so. That Gavin Butt doc sounds really good. Vaginal D. is a great genius. I look forward to meeting Butt. Promising name, ha ha. And, yes, Jesus, we need to get Gisele’s and my and others’ pieces over there. Wtf?! ‘The Ventriloquists Convention’ is virtually custom made for the UK. Get through life without WiFi as best you can, man. ** H, Hi. I’m glad DeAundra intrigued you, Cool. Have a great weekend! ** Armando, Hi. Why? Because there are thousands and thousands of bands that could potentially be the subject of our music video so the chances of guessing the right one are pretty low? ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ is certainly a singular rock doc, although I guess I don’t think of it as that. But then I like the whole thing including the parts that draw your ire, weird me. But I haven’t seen it in decades, mind you. ‘Benjamin Smoke’ is very good, yes, I agree. I’ve never been to Monaco. I’m very vaguely intrigued by the idea of going there. Why do you ask? I’m good with Kate Bush. I’ve never owned a single album of hers, so I don’t have a favorite. Do you like her, and, if so, what’s your fave(s)? Good, lucky weekend to you. ** Marilyn Roxie, Hi, M. Cool, I’m excited. Thank you so much! Enjoy every single thing this weekend! ** Slatted Light, Hi, David. Bruising, yes. If you’re willing and able, that too brief brush with your soulmate can end up very inspiring in a weird way. It can become nuclear re: creative feeling and resulting output. Gene Wilder was really brilliant, I think. Really, really special. Very undervalued. I haven’t seen the ‘Sherlock Holmes’ film. Didn’t he direct that? I’ll find it. He did things in ‘Young Frankenstein’ that are just mind-fucking-boggling. Mm, I’m hoping the new novel, if it works out, will incorporate enough of what I wanted to say about George and me that I will feel satisfied. This novel is not about him overall, but maybe I don’t need to write about everything to write about him. That’s my current theory. I’ve had this idea/wish for forever to do novel that somehow interrelates with or is grounded from within by ‘The Heart is a Lonely Hunter’. In some ways, that’s the book I’m writing, and George plays into the reason why I need to write that book very heavily. Haha, the doomsday clock thing is really weird. I tested it out, and it freaked me out. Have a fine, no, very fine Saturday and Sunday please. ** Okay. This weekend you get sex filtered through the work of some artists who cope with and redesign sex in various ways, and of course I hope that’s of interest. See you on Monday.