Two new books explore the Australian's unique childhood.
When tracing our sexual exploration, most of us use puberty as the starting point. Not so for Adam Seymour, aka Rural Ranga. This red-headed Aussie from the back country (or Rural Ranga) says that he was sexual “right from the beginning.” And he doesn’t find this out of the ordinary. “Most people feel uncomfortable discussing the sexuality of children,” he told me, “but I feel my childhood was full of these experiences, and I’m sure others will relate.” Well, he certainly isn’t shy about sharing sexual past in his two art books, available for purchase. HOMOlita and Wank Bank may document two very different times in his life — childhood and his thirties — but they’re joined by his unique aesthetic and playful prose. And, of course, all the sex.
HOMOlita begins with his birth and offers a series of sexual vignettes, one for each year, until puberty struck at the age of 16. At three, he was kissing photos of the men scattered throughout his father’s secret porn collection. At nine, he’d wait until his brother fell asleep at sleepovers before climbing over to the friends to 69. At 13, he fucked a blow-up alien toy till it popped. With such a colorful beginning, perhaps it’s not surprised that he took to erotic massages to help make ends meet as a newly arrived artist in New York City. As he so perfectly puts it on the first page of Wank Bank, the book was 100% funded “by the flicks of my wrist” — he wanked guys off to make bank. In it he offers snapshots of his life as a happy-ending masseur, accompanied by illustrations of clients. Some were sexy, some were sweet, some were too sweaty and some were, unfortunately, soiled.
In these collections, Seymour shares his own, very personal experiences. But by opening up about aspects of our sexuality often stigmatized and glossed over, these books welcome us all to think. They’re also just a lot of fun.
Some images from Wank Bank:
Pick up your copies here and at Printed Matter in NYC.
I used to play this game with a genius make-up-artist friend of mine, Way Bandy, who sadly passed away from AIDS years ago. We would start sniffing when we saw a hot guy. “Sniff, sniff, sniff”, we would go until one of us would stop and ask, “Do you smell what I smell???” And in unison we would chant “Dicky, dicky, dicky, dick, dick, dick” and end up having quite a good chuckle while releasing some sexual tension. Which leads me to this movie Dick: The Documentary — a literal parade of dicks coming at you one at a time in no particular order framed from the chest down to the knees in one steady locked off shot. As you leisurely stare at the cock before you its “owner” starts candidly talking about subjects relating to his cock — his first orgasm, jerking off experiences, thoughts about its size, how others feel about its size, and so on.
The film came together when first time director Brian Fender posted an ad on Craigslist inviting strangers into his house: “Wanted: Anonymous Naked Male Subjects to appear on camera for interviews.” Believe it or not he got 63 New Yorkers to appear; monks, firemen ex marines, heterosexuals, transexuals and more. How could you go wrong? It’s a must see! Even the film’s female publicist had something revealing to add,“Considering I don’t have a penis, I was surprised I also liked the film.” Well if you like dick, ALL kinds of dick, then you must splurge on the $4.95 streaming fee to watch Dick: The Documentary, you may never view your member the same way again.
Watch the trailer below:
The exhibition is now on view at the Bureau of General Services — Queer Division
American Apparel has always been a big supporter of the LGBTQ community. They’ve produced towels in collaboration with Butt Magazine featuring big hairy bare chested bears, they made the “GAY O.K.” T-shirt, and now the brand is releasing a set of 3 T-shirts featuring queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race.
We reached out to Jonny Szymanski at American Apparel to find out more about the collaboration and how it all came about.
Why did you guys decide to do this line of T-shirts? We like to think of this collection as a continuation of the “Support Artists, Support Ethical Manufacturing” line that we produced with artist, Petra Collins, about a year ago. These queens are multitalented performance artists and we wanted to pay homage to them with a line of limited edition t-shirts.
Who is the brains behind this? I sparked the initial conversation with the powers that be and it didn’t take long for everyone to get on board with making this drag dream a reality. American Apparel is great about letting all employees contribute creative ideas.
Why Alaska, Courtney and Willam? I worked with Willam and Courtney ages ago for a drag makeover show that I hosted and co-produced called “Transfashionable..” Getting them involved with my work at American Apparel came naturally. The girls in the office and I are all HUGE fans of Alaska, so we had to have her as well. It surprisingly worked out that all three of them were in LA at the time we had set aside for the initial photo shoot.
Is this an international campaign or only in the us? Guys — We’re talking about WOMEN OF THE WORLD here!
What was the concept for their looks? Initially, I wanted them to give classic — simple-original-early 2000s — AA trade show girl realness. We captured that in some of the shots but when you fill a photo studio with tons of clothes and three drag queens, anything can happen…and it did!
Check out the video below to see the girls in action.
Last Tuesday I visited NEW SIGHTS, NEW NOISE, a fascinating project generated by Michael Stipe in collaboration with NYU students, faculty, and guest artists. 80WSE‘s gallery has been transformed into a constantly changing laboratory where Stipe keeps a studio in part of the galleries for the duration of his residency, and the rest of the space teems with images projected on the walls and floor. Based on the concept of aggregation, the images when I visited had been curated by Stipe and spanned a fantastic range from historical to abstract. Corbis stock photos of President Nixon and his alleged gay lover reverberated against idyllic seaside photos and grid based models of human bodies. You can peek into Stipe’s studio through gaps in the wood walls that separate it from the rest of the space, and will be treated to a view into the backstage of artistic production. An issue of the New York Times encased in plexiglass mingles with a carton of water, a pair of German army trainers, and a bronze cassette replica.
You can visit the gallery Tuesday – Saturday from 10:30AM – 6:00PM, but you may want to schedule your visit to coincide with a special happening that will occur this weekend. On Saturday, October 11th, the projections will be curated by NYU undergraduate David Muñoz with help by fellow classmates Christina Blue, Jongyoon Choi, Ira Dae Young Kim, Daniel Mock and Serina Wei; and from 4:00PM – 6:00PM will be accompanied by music from Taul Paul and Cazwell. I’ve been assured that the afternoon happening is not be missed, and that a special surprise is in store!
Scenes from the international art fair at Tom House in Los Angeles
An exhibition in LA of limited edition 35mm prints
The California based artist Alex Marsh King has a new exhibition of limited edition 35mm prints at Voila Gallery that opens on October 11th at 8:00PM and closes on Oct. 15th. The show tittled Alive in California is a depiction of “the colors, vibrancy and moments that are intrinsic to Southern California life — lush lifestyle living, and lovely men to be specific.” Alex told us why he only works with film “I have always loved the look of film and when everyone started shooting digital, I fell out of love with photography. 15 years later, I picked up my Leica again and was reminded of the power of light & chemical reaction when dealing with our objects of desire…”
After the artist started getting lots of positive responses about this body of work, he decided to dig into his film archives and put this exhibition together. The show contains photographs of “beautiful near-naked men, and other colorful natural subject matter.” All work will be available for purchase at the event, along with his magazine Light Luster — a collection of 40 pages of still life set against the male form. Also, expect a performance by the indie surf rock band Rachel Goodrich and The Grrrls. Below is a preview of some of the work that will be on display…
FREE, 8:00PM, Voila Gallery, 518 N. La Brea Los Angeles, CA.
Will is 24 years old and was born and raised in Nederland, Texas. He told me about when he first discovered he liked boys, “I can remember back in first grade having a little kid crush on a classmate, as little kids you play truth or dare, and I can remember this one day where my friend was dared to kiss this boy and so we made this huge deal of it and she finally kissed him and I remember watching and thinking I wanna do that!!! But with the boy… That’s when I knew something was up.” Will has a boyfriend: “I’m in love right now…”
His favorite body parts are his calf muscles, “being a dancer makes me have some real powerful legs and I’m very proud of my calves…” On another guy Will is attracted to “nice and strong arms, and the eyes — I’m all about getting lost deep into someone’s soul through their eyes. Is that creepy?” A perfect date for him would be a picnic in the park, “Some good conversation, a cheap glass of red wine and some Strawberry shortcake.” He feels sexy when he’s dancing in his 6 inch black heels to Beyonce’s new album.
Will is currently a contestant on this season of America’s Next Top Model and apparently he’s the only gay model on the show, “I am really proud of myself for making it on the show and being the only proud gay man.” He told me that he really loved working with Tyra, she’s “the most amazingly fiercely perfect thing in the world! YAS GAWD.” Will told me more about the show: “it such a vulnerable experience to put myself through and I would love if all the things that I share and my personal struggles can help anyone else out there who’s also struggling.”
When it’s time for him to go to bed, he’s more comfortable in the nude, “Do people wear clothes when they go to bed?” He’s the happiest when he is “in the arms of those I love or just being with my family.” His dream career would be a “dance teacher for the rest of my life — I teach dance back home in Texas and nothing gives me more joy than to see kids grow and learn how to dance.”
We asked Will to take a few selfies wearing our GAYLETTER Classic T-shirt, here’s what he came up with…
Art Activism during the AIDS Crisis
Tommaso Speretta‘s Rebels Rebel: AIDS, Art and Activism in New York, 1979-1989 is the most recent in a series of works that bring to light the activism surrounding the outbreak of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Along with the documentaries How to Survive a Plague and United in Anger, Rebels Rebel joins an emergent history, giving voice to a Queer movement born out of crisis. In order to construct his narrative, Speretta looks to the art collectives involved in producing art propaganda, or agitprop. Merging written and visual histories, Rebels Rebel reflects a moment where the lines between art, politics, pop culture and social theory were purposefully blurred by AIDS activists bent on creating greater awareness for the growing epidemic. Speretta adeptly articulates the ways artists, and those involved in AIDS activism, repurposed advertising, marketing and communication techniques to combat an indifferent media and government.
Tracing the multiple axes of resistance utilized by ACT UP, Rebels Rebel paints an unsentimental picture of both the pain that comes with losing loved ones and the artistic pleasures that come with using art to make a difference. In the process, Speretta gives readers a look at life and death in queer New York before marriage equality and the mainstreaming of the Gay Rights Movement.
He concludes the book with an essay on his personal experience of coming out at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic and working alongside AIDS activists to create a voice for people largely ignored or deemed undeserving of help by an increasingly conservative public. It is Speretta’s ability to bring together the disparate pieces of the AIDS crisis — the personal, political, artistic, institutional and commercial — that makes Rebels Rebel a great book to own.
We are at booth A81!
Printed Matter’s NY ART BOOK FAIR starts tomorrow and we couldn’t be more excited for it. Not only is it the biggest, baddest art book fair in the world (40,000+ publications), it’s also our first chance to show off our inaugural issue of the GAYLETTER magazine. We’ve been working on this for the last year and we can’t wait for everyone else to get their eyes, and hands on it.
Come visit us at our booth (A81) and pick up a copy of the magazine along with all sorts of other GAYLETTER supplies. We’re in the gay aisle (typical), along with some other of our favorite people: ANAL Magazine, Massive Goods, Dirty Looks, Headmaster Magazine, Massive Goods, Original Plumbing, Dirty Looks, Pinups, DIK Fagazine and many more.
Also on Sunday night, make sure you check out Sunday Night Fever — the Official Closing Party for the NY Art Book Fair with Karl Holmqvist and DJs. it’s at Santos Party House at 96 Lafayette St., from 10 PM to Late.
Below are the opening times for the fair:
Friday, September 26, 12pm–7 pm
Saturday, September 27, 11am–9 pm
Sunday, September 28, 11am–7 pm
MoMA PS1, 22-25 Jackson Avenue at 46th Avenue, Long Island City, NY.