A new show by the artists Walt Cessna and Natasha Gornik
A provocative photography exhibition is opening on July 25th at Leslie+Lohman Prince Street Project. The artists Walt Cessna and Natasha Gornik will present Sharp Objects, a showcase with a focus on sexuality and the male gaze. While New York based photographers, writers and bloggers Cessna and Gornik have collaborated before, this is their first show together — and it looks very promising.
The reception is hosted by MachineDazzle Flower, Brooklyn DJ David John Sokolowski will play music and a special performance by Paul Leopold (aka BOYWOLF).
To get a taste of what’s in store, check out their websites (Cessna and Gornik), then head on down to the gallery, and enjoy a cocktail served up by Cessna’s “super muse” Chad Ferro. I am glad they’s have a muse as bartender, some of those servers can be boring sometimes…
FREE, 6:00PM-9:00PM, Leslie+Lohman Prince Street Project, 127-B Prince St. New York, NY.
Marilyn Monroe was the original crazy lady of Hollywood. Sure some came before her, but no one could outdo that nutcase. She was also super-smart and a captivating performer. And just when you thought the world had seen every last damn photo of this woman (I mean she died in 1962 at the age of 36) comes a traveling show that features newly discovered images snapped by five photographers who just happened to be around Marilyn at the right time. The show is comprised of work by Milton Greene, Lani Carlson, Thomas “Doc” Kaminski, Mischa Pelz and her personal make-up artist Allan “Whitey” Snyder. These photos were taken mainly while on vacation and show Marilyn doing all sorts of regular people things like visiting Niagara Falls, petting a horse and chilling out with some black bears. The show only runs for 4 days, so carve out some time for it. Get to it girl!
The solo presentation marking 10 years of the fruitful collaboration between Slava Mogutin & Brian Kenny — The exhibition is on view until August 15th.
You may know the saucy, super talented and irreverent film director/photographer Larry Clark. He’s the guy who directed the movie ‘Kids’ and shot the photos in the series titled ‘Tulsa,’ of all those hot teenagers shooting up amphetamines, that caused quite a stir in the art community. His NYC gallery Luhring Augustine has a super sexy show, a mini retrospective of sorts, of Clark’s work spanning his career from 1960 to the present. It’s up now until August 1st. Let me just say there are a lot of beautiful vaginas AND cocks (hard, soft, recently ejaculated). Many of the pieces are meticulous collages assembled from Clark’s vast collection of snapshots, printed material and detritus from his life, as well as never before seen paintings. “His interest is in kids on the brink of becoming men and women, recording the myriad of beautiful, fucked up, charming, clumsy, dirty things involved in the transition.” There’s even a girl with an ass full of shit in one collage but Larry makes it work. The man is still going strong in his 70’s having just finished a film called ‘The Smell of Us’ about self-destructive skateboarders, being released this fall. Go Larry go, I dig your scene.
Help the artist/writer/porn star afford a romp across the continent
Back in April, artist/writer/sex columnist/perfect porn star Colby Keller announced that he was being evicted from his apartment in Baltimore. Having called the city home for the last ten years, Keller saw the eviction notice as a sign: not only of the growing gentrification of the city, but one that also meant it was time to move on into the great unknown. For Keller, being the adventurous, gorgeous trailblazer that he is, that great unknown involves buying a van, a mattress, and a camera in order to travel across the US and Canada recording a porn in every state and province along the way. Aiming to do all of this in less than a year, Keller has now taken to Indiegogo for help getting this infallible venture on the road, with a slew of awesome perks to go with it.
The self-described ‘art-nerd porn icon’ has made signed postcards, t-shirts, personalized videos (as clean or dirty as you like), and original illustrations all available depending on how much you want to contribute to the project. If you’re feeling generous, you get a “Spanking Station” hosted by the bearded star in your hometown. If you’re feeling extra generous, you get to actually direct a porn with Keller and another model, wherever and however you want. It’s a porn aficionado’s dream come true, to say the least. He’s got a month to reach his goal of $35,000, so now’s a good time to start forking over your extra cash and/or life savings so we can all enjoy this extra sexy road movie together.
Check out the Indiegogo campaign here, and watch Keller speak about the project below:
A collaboration between the artist and the noted adult star
Our friend and artist Stuart Sandford has been an artist-in-residence at the Tom of Finland Foundation in Los Angeles for the past few months. During his time there, “as a way of giving back to the foundation,” he collaborated with the famed porn actor Brent Corrigan creating 6 limited edition photographic prints to benefit the foundation. The images were all taken in Tom’s garden using an old Yashica T-5 35mm camera.
I had a chance to chat with Stuart about this project and he told me that the project started when “a mutual friend introduced me to Brent and invited him to the Tom of Finland House and gave him a tour, Brent was really excited and passionate about Tom and his work.” Stuart shared with me that he’s had a crush on Brent for years, “ever since I saw him in his first porn movies back in the gay, especially Every Poolboy’s Dream.” It seems like Stuart’s own dream came true. In preparation for the shoot, the artist and the model hanged out for a day, “drank some beers, talked about life, love, sex, art and took photos, which is the way I like to shoot, it’s all about the interaction between myself and the person I’m shooting.”
They’re planning on a few collaborations in the future, but in the meantime Stuart says they’ll hang out again soon in San Diego (where Brent is living at the moment) and ride horses bareback — “apparently it’s the best way to do it…although I heard it can be painful,” added Stuart.
Christie's serves up some of Warhol's Sexier Side
I was immediately struck by all the close ups of thick black cocks and spread ass cheeks in Christie‘s online only auction of Andy Warhol‘s male centric collection, up for just one more day, titled ‘Andy’s Eye Candy.’ The auction house has amassed over 100 photographs, prints and drawings from Warhol’s vast oeuvre. On closer inspection they provide a fascinating insight into the renowned artist’s sexual proclivities and personal relationships.
Even if you’re not buying, and I must say there are some very affordable pieces for sale, definitely have a look at the twenty pages of artworks up on the site. “This sale contains explicit content” is boldly printed on the title banner of the sale and I say “bring it on.” Drag queens, body builders, multiple ass and torso polaroids and a slew of “unidentified young males” are just some of the subjects Warhol aimed his stealth artistic gaze upon. There’s even a polaroid portrait of famed Stonewall drag queen and black american transgender rights activist Marsha P. Johnson. No wonder the sale is timed in conjunction with LGBTQI pride month.
One would think art historians and critics have left no stone unturned where Warhol is concerned but in light of ‘Andy’s Eye Candy’ it seems yet another layer of the elusive artist’s legend has been revealed.
A new exhibition presented by Visual Aids is opening this Thursday at La MaMa La Galleria. ‘Ephemera as Evidence,’ which takes its name from an essay written by José Esteban Muñoz in 1996 is curated by Josh Lubin-Levy and Ricardo Montez. The multimedia exhibit contains “visual art, performance, and pedagogical projects that evidence past lives and future possibilities in the work of artists confronting HIV/AIDS.” The exhibition highlights “Rosson Crow’s The Pop Shop (2010) which reorients viewers to Keith Haring’s affective legacy through a dizzying collage of AIDS activist materials; a performance installation by Benjamin Frederickson in which private encounters will be documented live on site with the resulting Polaroids left for public investigation; A selection of works curated by students at the New School for Public Engagement; and a series of performances, events and workshops developed in collaboration with a number of guest curators, thinkers and performers.” Additional artists in the exhibition include D-L Alvarez, Luke Dowd, Tony Just, Kia LaBeija, Kevin McCarty, Jack Smith, Julie Tolentino/Clit Club, and Conrad Ventur.
The poet on his provocative Instagram and how to take bad advice
Early on in Ben Kline’s newest poetry collection, Going Fast in Loose Directions, a poem titled ‘A Minor Lament‘ opens with the following deceptively simple lines: “He unseated good sense. / The best lovers often do.” The declaration is purposefully economical, shortened to a mere nine words in order to speak in the simplest of terms to experiences of love and loss, desire and mania, sex and loneliness. Kline is adept at this trick of economy; none of the eighty poems that make up Going Fast in Loose Directions surpass two pages, and yet not a single one lacks for emotional depth or shrewd observation. Take the numbered sequences that recur under the titles ‘Propositions‘ and ‘Men I Know.’ Depicting blunt sexual advances in haiku form and ended relationships in free verse respectively, the numbered poems feel like interludes: sometimes steamy, sometimes heartbreaking, but always loaded with infinite possibility for what comes next.
It’s that sense of giddy unpredictability that makes Going Fast in Loose Directions, Kline’s first full collection to be published by Johnny Murdoc’s erotica micro-pub Queer Young Cowboys, so invigorating to read in the first place. Over the course of eighty poems, Ohio-native Kline offers readers a candid look at sex and love, detailing intense erotic encounters and damaging break-ups with matching elegance. Some of the poems, including the ‘Propositions‘ and ‘Men I Know‘ sequences, are culled from Kline’s Tumblr, Original Content Required, which serves as a public forum for writing exercises and selfies alike. His Instagram, too, is a testament to the author’s penchant for photos of himself, but the habit is far from obnoxious — if any working writer today has mastered the art of taking a dashingly handsome selfie, it’s Kline, no questions asked.
We dropped the author a line to ask him a few questions about Going Fast in Loose Directions, receiving bad advice from his creative writing teacher, and what he really thinks about the current state of poetry.
Where are you living right now? What do you do for work besides writing poetry? Cincinnati, Ohio. I work in a university library system, though what I do is in flux this summer during some reorganization.
When and how did you start writing poetry? I began writing during the summer of 1989, while still on the family farm, a junior gay in overalls with too much pent up frustration, dreaming of skyscrapers and art shows. I wrote mostly fiction, a few awful poems. Real poetry manifested in college, at the encouragement of fellow creatives in various writing classes and pals amused by my penchant for freestyling new (and funny) lyrics to almost any song.
What was the last event in your life that inspired you to write? My 40th birthday on May 27.
How long have you been working on this collection? Specifically, since May 2013. Spiritually, since 1994, after my 40something straight white male Creative Writing teacher told me that I write about sex and sexual matters far more than is polite.
What do perfect writing conditions look like for you? After 11:30pm, good downbeat music playing with the bass up, a whiskey ginger ale on the rocks, notepads and laptop at the ready.
The poems within the collection that form numbered sequences (‘Propositions’, ‘Men I Know’, etc.) struck me the most. Given the breadth of the collection, can you tell me about the creative process behind including these sequences? Both the Proposition haiku and the Men I Know poems are series from my blog, Original Content Required. I like the idea of thematic series of poems, either as a capsule body of work or as an ongoing theme. I wanted to include them in the book as a nod to my blog, where much of the work in Going Fast in Loose Directions was born. On the blog, the Propositions usually have complementary visual or audio elements, and I completed the #1 – #100 last month. The Men I Know poems were suggested by a friend, on the idea of going through one’s catalog of lovers and telling tales. I selected pieces from the series based on how I felt they meshed with the other work in the book.
As a working poet, what do you think is the current climate for poetry, or more specifically, queer poetry? How do you see yourself within this climate? For both poetry and queer poetry, the internet has broadened the field. When I was in my early 20s, I bought and studied Writer’s Market. I read Writer’s Digest. I submitted to all the big magazines and journals, to even more small presses and zines. I had a few bylines, including my first paid story at age 20. But it was a long road to maybe. Especially if you did not live in a large city, and your subject matter was gayer than a bathhouse orgy cast by Chi Chi LaRue. Now, young writers, actually all writers, have more avenues through which to create, develop, share, publish, market and… engage their work. Engagement is the biggest advance. The access to readers, fellow writers, like minds. It’s of utmost importance. Meanwhile I see myself as being part of the new and previous paradigms. I have a blog. I’m not afraid of carefully manipulated selfies. I will email a fellow creative without hesitation. Yet I remember gay and all that meant before the internet. I remember visiting Columbus, Ohio and going to my first gay bookstore in the early 90s. Neither set of conditions is better/worse. They simply were/are. A smart writer operates in the what is.
Most of Going Fast in Loose Directions focuses on erotic content while still remaining very emotionally open. How do you strike a balance between these different aspects of your romantic life when transforming them into art? Well… I always tell my friends: the poem is of me, but not about me. Which means I easily navigate that balance. Which sounds very clinical, but I am a terrible memoirist and no fan of biographical criticism. My life is not nearly as exciting as the poems might imply. When writing poems of an erotic or sexualized nature, I make a conscious effort to have even the most crass or explicit moment be emotionally accessible. I have work that tilts in other and more specific directions, but my Gemini nature is fascinated by the dualities, especially those surrounding sex and love.
Can you describe your editing process? When does a poem feel complete to you? I edit my poetry by reading it aloud. It has to sound a certain way for me to like it. I will record myself reciting it and listen carefully. I never feel a poem is complete. Even after it is published, which was the case with the title poem of the book.
The photography included in Going Fast in Loose Directions feels almost as intimate as the poetry itself. How did those photos come to be included in the book? Early in the bookmaking process, Johnny Murdoc and I discussed incorporating photography into the book. He fretted the technical design aspects. I concerned myself with the mood any photography might lend. As mentioned, I’m not afraid of a selfie. On my blog I enjoy writing poems over photos that either inspired or work with the words, especially when contemplating our modern digital lives. I also enjoy photography and was a photo studio apprentice in high school. I took all but one of the photos in the book, including the cover shot.
What are you reading at the moment? A few things: Percival Everett by Virgil Russell. I love Everett’s work. He is probably my favorite contemporary American writer. 3 Sections by Vijay Seshadri. The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde. Some mid 1980s issues of Uncanny X-Men.
What artists inspire your work, writers or otherwise? Percival Everett, Madonna, Jeanette Winterson, Robert Mapplethorpe, Milan Kundera, Anne Sexton, Louis Armstrong, Audre Lorde, T.S. Eliot, Chris Claremont, Keith Haring, Björk, Damien Hirst, Cindy Sherman, Aldo Balding, Edmund White, and many more. Those are the “big names” I can think of immediately.
On your publisher’s site, your Instagram is referenced as a “self-built altar to [your] body.” Can you respond to this? That is quite a pitch, yeah? I had a typical Instagram account — random selfies, food photos, nature snapshots, etc. — until early 2013, when I decided to re-engage my writing and my relationship with it. I decided to use my Instagram as a provocation/titillation/marketing workshop/playground. I wanted to drive traffic to my blog and play up certain aspects of my work. It’s as much a character as is “The Author” on my blog. It was a conscious decision and a curated effort that continues, though post-Going Fast in Loose Directions and its release, I’ve been considering another reconfiguration. However, I don’t take it as seriously as the above sounds. If the readers/viewers and I are enjoying the experience, that matters most.
The Godfather of the U.S. paparazzi culture spills his load
My first job as an adult in New York City was working for this tiny PR agency but we had two big clients — Grace Jones and Peter Gatien who owned the Limelight. It was then back in 83′ at the tender age of twenty that I had my first experience of the mega paparazzo Ron Gallela. He came to everything we produced, invited or not, with camera in hand, pushing, shoving, maneuvering, and doing whatever he had to do to get the photo and he always delivered. I mean he even developed, edited, printed and serviced the images to the print media himself.
“In his nocturnal hunts Gallela captured New York as no one else had-from the melding of every strata of society into the disco demimonde on the same dance floor to the go go 80′s…” Ron photographed everyone everywhere! Marlon Brando, Liza, Halston, Naomi, Linda, Cindy, Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Woody Allen, Bob Dylan, John Travolta, Al Pacino and most unforgettably his muse Jackie O. If my memory serves me correctly I think Jackie won a famous legal battle against Ron and she was awarded a restraining order against him whereby he could not come within 50 feet of her and 75 feet from her children. I mean christ, Time magazine and Vanity Fair dubbed him “The Godfather of the U.S. Paparazzi culture” AND Brando punched him in the face, (after some harassing I’m sure) breaking his jaw and knocking out five teeth!
I tell you all this because Damiani Press has just published a fantastic, concise overview of Ron’s New York celebrity centric work aptly titled ‘Ron Gallela New York‘, and it’s now available for purchase. The pages are brimming with energy as we get behind the “PR step and repeat photo ops” to see the celebrities, shall we say, with their guards down. Your coffee table is not complete this summer unless you have a copy of this book, trust.
The book is available on artbook, click here to buy it.