Late 2007; Dumbo Arts Festival.
A diatribe on how we consume sex, and how it consumes us…….
Conjuring up an image of sex in the city one is likely to find oneself imagining the loud clicking of designer stilettos against the visage of Adonis clad nubile men dressed in wall st attire and hallucinatory gazes, suggestions and a fistful of dirt money. Putting aside traditional Madison Avenue interpretations of sexuality in a taut city Dean Daderko and Marina Adam’s wonderfully curated exhibit of the same name instead chose to draw on the innate humanity prevalent in wanton desire and the very private intimacy and foreboding verging on the vulnerable.
What follows with the clever and heartfelt video slide peep show display of homo eroticism of Jayson Keeling’s hip hop black male gender is a reversal of typical stereotypes often engendered by the same class of men in gangster rap, mtv pouncing beats, brazen jewelry and the fast cars and women these men wish us to believe they drive and aspire to. Rather we are exposed with the ever present awareness of the video chronicling all in the background of languid, self absorbed and vulnerable expressions of tightly packed men fumbling for gravity, sensuality and fulfillment amongst their peers. It’s as if to say one becomes more man, masculine by staying true to ones nature femininity and vulnerable instincts. Amongst copulation, tender grips and earnest expressions Jayson’s souls find redemption and catharsis in a world that tells them otherwise. In chronicling the state of undress physically and metaphorically Keeling has exposed us to our humanity, indeed an ironic feat for a young man who has worked behind the scenes of the porn industry for the last ten years.
Continuing with Daderko’s and Adam’s themes of self glorification and evocation lead us to the sublime suggestion of Marilyn Minter’s work. With adroitness she implies the foreboding brooding of something sexual that perhaps isn’t meant to be seen or shared with the public but rather the self or the affection of that ‘other’ we are forced to examine our own secret desires and the way we too hide behind veneers lest we be found out.
Asked if money makes the world go round what makes sex go round, Mickeline Thomas responded ‘love.’ And love is what she shows in two pieces that work together to imbue the self-love in herself and the love and bond shared amongst mother and daughter. Reminiscent of what procured during the enlightenment period, the subjects, earthy African women suggest the self-adulation, narcissism and self-containment finds in the politically correct world of the enlightenment. Drawing from her influences of Samuel Fossal, Bobby Brown, and Sidyo Keita, Thomas turns the traditional idea of self glorification amongst the collage of contemporary earthy subjects into an egalitarian concept.
From there we go to the surreal visage of David Humphries work whose dreamy fantastical notions imbue one with the sense of a wilderness terrain. Oddly enough, it’s through this wilderness that Humphries argues one comes to find civility and accord. Ascribing to the existential notion the that the world is a blind place where one can only reach out to begin to find some meaning and solace to their lives leads Humphries to the concept of BLISS. That is ‘being loved involves satisfaction sometimes.’
Thus what follows is an awkward intimacy amongst Humphries subjects, because ‘being loved isn’t the same as loving, after all perhaps it’s far better to love than to be loved.’
In the end one walks away relieved that they don’t have to resort to primal Madison Avenue postures and brazen stereotypes in order to fulfill their wanton fantasies and experience their own brand of ‘sex in the city.‘