Casey Spooner and Warren Fischer from the electroclash band Fischerspooner are hosting the official release for their new book today, Oct. 28th, at VFILES in SoHo. The book tittled Fischerspooner: New Truth, “visualizes the colorful beginnings of Fischerspooner with photography, costumes, ephemera, documentation of performances, props, studio portraiture and film stills. Original essays by Klaus Biesenbach, Gavin Brown, Jeffrey Deitch, Warren Fischer and Casey Spooner, provide unique and personal accounts of Fischerspooner’s historical and conceptual implications. Edited with an introduction by Meredith Mowder.“
In addition to the book they are going to be celebrating the “archival reissue” of the T-shirt “Artists Have More Fun” by Jeremiah Clansy — the shirt will be exclusively available at VFILES.
We had a peek at the book and it feels like a personal diary, it contains lots of interesting images highlighting the band’s relationship with performance art, their amazing wigs, their costumes, and all the elements and diverse references that made up their unique performances. It’s an interesting look at their process and an insight to how much Casey loves to wear sexy little underwear. He’s a fan of getting nudey — clearly aware that sex sells!
Here are some inside images from the book:
FREE, 6:00-8:00PM, VFILES, 12 Mercer St. NY, NY.
An interview with collector Robert Swope
Can you imagine going to the flea market, opening a random box and discovering hundreds of photographs of men dressed as ladies from the late fifties to the mid sixties? Where, you’d wonder on earth did they come from. The answer, as it turned out, is a retreat in Hunter, New York called Casa Susanna for heterosexual transvestites. “Founded by Susanna, aka Tito Valenti, the resort embraced men who dressed like women providing a safe haven for the exploration of gender roles in a time when it was not common to do so.”
The archive consisting of 189 color photographs, 144 black and white photographs and 7 photographic Christmas cards now on view at Wright (980 Madison Ave. NY, NY.) is being auctioned off this Oct. 30 with an estimated value of $100,000-$150,000. The archive is owned by the collectors Robert Swope and Michel Hurst who originally unearthed the collection in the flea market. Please take this rare opportunity to pop uptown to see these miraculous photographs. I was fortunate enough to catch up with Robert on the eve of the auction to ask him some pointed questions about the archive.
If you don’t see the answer to one of the questions this body of work provokes for you please come to a talk the two collectors are having at Wright Oct. 28th from 6:00-8:00PM and ask away — I’m sure it will be a lively conversation — I’ll be there with bells on.
Did the dealer at the flea market where you purchased the archive have any idea of the value of the photographs? Did they mention where they procured the images from? No. They came from a self-storage unit.
What was your reaction when you discovered the first few photographs? Could you make sense of them? I knew immediately that they were something special and figured it out fairly quickly — I think when you see them altogether they speak for themselves and tell a story.
Briefly describe how you followed the trail back to Casa Susanna? We were contacted once the book came out by a P.H.D. candidate who was doing research in this field and clued us into the resort Casa Susanna.
What has become of the property? I believe the property is currently for sale and they are using the Casa Susanna connection as a selling point.
Do you believe that all these men were heterosexual? I think that some were probably gay.
Why are you selling the collection now? My partner and I are selling our design collection at the same time and decided to sell the Casa Archive as well — we have taken it as far as we can.
Who do you think would be the ideal buyer for the archive? An institution would be a great place for the collection — somewhere that it could be made available to be seen.
How would you say the Casa Susanna drag is different from today’s drag? This is the thing — these guys were NOT drag queens — they were not doing a parody of women — as drag queens do — they were trying to be real women.
Were wives welcome at Casa Susanna? Did the men bring them along? Wives were welcome andmany participants did bring their wives.
How did all these images taken by various different photographers wind up in the same collection? I believe the collection was most likely the property of Susanna Valenti herself, particularly since one of the albums had her business card attached to the cover.
Will you miss the archive once it’s gone? Yes, I am quite attached to it.
V gave a wild performance at the downtown institution The Cock
Slava Mogutin introduces the classic film on Oct. 27th as part of the Queer/Art/Film Series
Maybe you missed Slava Tsukerman’s Liquid Sky the first time it came around? Androgynous models, dope deals, UFOs and killer orgasms made this 1982 film an instant cult classic — and the IFC Center is bringing it back to the big screen as part of the ongoing series, Queer/Art/Film. Co-curated by Adam Baran and filmmaker Ira Sachs, every month a different gay artist is invited to share the film that most shaped their vision.
This month, New York staple Slava Mogutin will be presenting Liquid Sky, a film that inspired him and an entire generation of artists. Like director Tsukerman, Mogutin hails from Mother Russia, however, his outspoken writings and activism (not to mention his attempt to marry his partner in 1994) forced him into exile. More than a decade before Putin’s anti-gay propaganda law, he was the first to be granted political asylum in the United States on the grounds of homosexual persecution. His writings, photography and multimedia art have been showcased in museums, galleries and publications across the world.
Mogutin will introduce Liguid Sky on Monday, October 27th. The screening will be followed by drinks and discussion at the city’s oldest gay bar, Julius.
With a special performance by Jennifer Hudson at the W Union Square
We also chat with the photographer about his latest book FRACTURED
Photographer Jeremy Kost has a brand new photography book tittled FRACTURED, it consists of “multiple-exposure Polaroids of young, stereotypically beautiful men…” with plenty of peen on display! The images contained in the book are mysterious and have a beautiful dreamy quality to them. Jeremy created this layered effect by using dated film and the “process of double exposing in daylight.” We reached out to the artist to asked him a few questions and learn more about his new project. He also sent us a group of “exclusive” images that are not contained in the book. If you are in NYC, he’s having a book signing at Bookmarc on October 21 from 6:00Pm-8:00PM.
When did you start creating this body of work? The work started about 2.5 years ago by chance really. A Polaroid was jammed in my camera and I shot the frame again to try to get it to eject. The result was beautiful and I’ve been working to explore and perfect the process since!
How do the images differ from the ones you’ve created before? Well, in essence I think of these as sort of collapsed collages. Abstractions, landscapes, figures, all slammed together into a single dream like frame. All of the previous work that people know have been single, straightforward Polaroids. Singular in vision and form. The collages, while abstracted, are still more literal than the new work.
What polaroid camera and film did you use to create these images? Spectra cameras and dead stock Polaroid film mostly. It all expired in 2009 and was made in 2008. Each frame is super precious because it’s literally running out with every click.
Did you create this work with the idea of making a book in mind? Not really. I was making the work and through the creative process, Sam Shahid (who really is a genius even given all our head butting over the years) challenged me to do it. When we turned the book into Damiani, even they were surprised… In a good way!
Why is the book called Fractured? The title really goes back to the images being “fractured.” Almost like you’re waking up from a dream and you can kinda sorta put them back together but you can’t quite. It’s also looking at this fracturing of identity and body and specifically facade and the physical plane.
Can you tell me more about the process of creating that layered ghost-like effect in your pictures. There have to be some secrets left in the world, no? It’s a much more laborious process than people might suspect, especially with the neon images. They happen in multiple moments which take a lot of patience and “sticking to it” so to speak.
How many boys did you photograph for this project? I made around 3,800 Polaroids of something like 55 guys as I was making this book. Not all are in the book for a variety of reasons. The nice thing about art is that it’s timeless and can always come back in the future!
How many of the boys got naked? Well, almost all. I’m not big on talking about shooting individuals (kinda like not kissing and telling) but generally, if someone isn’t comfortable with some form of nudity (frontally exposed or not) I pass on shooting them. My casting process has gotten super tight.
What’s the point you are trying to make with this body of work? I’m not sure there is a point so to speak. They represent a vision that’s been developing for the last couple of years and continues to take new forms with more flowers and more text. I’m sort of a fan of the idea of making art that you want to see for yourself and that you hope people like vs having some super direct point.
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: