Review: Louis Fratino at Sikkema Jenkins & Co

This review was originally published on Artforum.com

Although acutely following the tradition of artists like Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall, Fratino’s canvases are neither derivative nor pastiche. Rather, in a stroke of generative revisionism, the works here inscribe the straight art-historical canon with the prosaic and intimate junctions of gay life today.

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CURRICULUM: Spaces of Learning and Unlearning, Review

This review originally appeared on Artforum.com

Mining affects such as color, atmosphere, and ritual, the works in “CURRICULUM: spaces of learning and unlearning” offer alternative networks of care and collectivity in response to, and in place of, institutions.

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Bloodshed in Suburbia: On Todd Haynes' Safe (1995)

This essay appeared in Issue 2 of The Film Atlas.

In an uncharacteristic move to “try something new,” Carol White gets a perm in a green marble, mirrored room. Carol, a hesitantly self-described “homemaker,” suffers from a mysterious and multi-symptomatic illness despite (or because of) her profoundly insular, conventional, and hermetic world.

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Jamie Gray Williams at Selenas Mountain

This review originally appeared on Artforum.com

Citing classic slapstick, the figures in Jamie Gray Williams’s paintings and drawings loom in tragicomic disarray. Squirming, tripping, poking, tumbling––their bodies are both unmoored from any discernible surroundings and completely at the mercy of unseen obstacles. These genderless, guileless creatures, their noses squishy and upturned, limbs scribbled like markings on craft-store pen-tester pads, are loopily fatalistic.

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Proof of Pleasure

This essay appears in Issue 3 of Phile Magazine (2018).

Squirting has several, often contradictory, mythologies. It is at once erotic, repulsive, an unsolvable mystery, a given, evidence, hearsay, piss, cum, all of the above, none of the above. All anyone can seem to agree on is that it is (if it is) wet. Squirting floats (gushes) in and out of that sensual dream realm other erotic feminine myths occupy, somewhere between virginity and vagina dentata. But squirting is no legend. It’s real, it’s visible, it’s tangible, it’s wet.

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What Does it Mean to Be Asexual in the Age of Queer Politics?

This essay was originally published on Slutever

Movements for sexual liberation have historically been about the freedom to desire. The work of undoing, resisting, and subverting restrictions on “deviant” desire (gay, lesbian, bi, female, etc.) is monumental and nowhere near finished. The freedom not to desire (as in asexuality) is often seen to be at odds with these movements, perhaps because the oppression of queer and feminine desire has involved forcing people to suppress or negate their desires. But asexuality is not at odds with other forces for sexual liberation.

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Kristen Sollée & the Contemporary Witching Hour

This essay was originally published on Slutever

Witches, Sluts, Feminists is a breathless, wide-ranging, and acute account of the figure of the witch in all her ugly, excessive, deviant glory. In her book, Sollée diagnoses the resurgence of the witch in feminist discourse, and attests to the witch’s relevance as an “evergreen” symbol of female oppression and resistance.

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On the Frontlines with LESTE Mag: Championing a New Era of Erotic Print

This essay was originally published on Slutever

Beautifully designed and printed erotic magazines are having a renaissance (think: Odiseo, Phile, Math, and Archer), and at the helm of the most interesting and subversive publications are a constellation of women dedicated to reimagining – and re-sourcing – the complex conversations surrounding sex, sexuality and the erotic.

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The Future is Female*: On Queer Futures and Alien Transcendence in Science Fiction Cinema and Beyond

This essay was originally published in Issue 1 of The Film Atlas.

To be alien is an affective mode. It is to sense (or to be taught through violence) that the thick walls of gender and continents and skin are too restrictive. To feel alien – that is, to find oneself on the side of the oppressed – is to embody an unsettlement, a dislocation, to negotiate a fervent and infinite incongruence between body and subject. It is a rejection of fixity. In this sense it is a productive force. Both Under the Skin and Her gender their extra-human futuristic subjects female, despite the fact that neither subject is predisposed to an earthly gendered anatomy.

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Boys' Love: The Gay Erotica Taking China by Storm

This essay was originally published on Slutever

In 1997, the government of the People’s Republic of China decriminalized homosexuality. It wasn’t until four years later, in 2001, that homosexuality was officially declassified as a mental illness. Today, mainstream society in mainland China is still ambivalent – but more often than not, hostile – towards non-normative sexualities. In 2017, China is a conservative culture with deeply ingrained social and gendered hierarchies and a highly regulated (read: censored) internet. So, how does a form of (mostly online) gay erotica consumed primarily by straight women come to flourish into a major industry?

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On Algis Norvila's Photo Series “Memento”

The containers in Norvila’s photo series “Memento” – primarily wooden drawers, but on occasion simply white space – accommodate what he calls “the things needed to keep a house going.” That the maintenance of a house (and creation of a home) is something of a Sisyphean task – a painstaking race against inevitable decay – is attested to in these photos. And yet the contents of the drawers, tins, buckets and white space in the photographs interpose a sense of stillness, a hermetic containment of time, an embalming. “Memento” grapples with this tension between static and dynamic modes of remembering and re-articulation.

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RENT CHEQUE: A Night of Civilian Striptease

This essay was originally published on Slutever

I’m visiting Vancouver – where I grew up – and the city is pretty much how it always was: wet, enthusiastic about unnecessary physical activity, packed with Lululemon-clad clones and sporting what could be described as a faltering nightlife. But for the past four years, Vancouver has been host to at least one event that deviates from this norm, and which offers up an alternative way of thinking about bodies, sex, capitalism and consent. Rent Cheque, which takes place on the last Friday of every month in Vancouver, Canada, is a night of civilian striptease.

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Introducing Phile Magazine: 'The International Journal of Desire & Curiosity'

This essay was originally published on Slutever

Phile features artists and writers ranging from scholars to sex workers (not that the two are mutually exclusive), and everything in between, in an attempt to “bridge the gap between the academic and the practical.”

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Pics or It Didn't Happen: Images Banned From Instagram

This essay was originally published on Slutever

Throughout our three-way Skype session, L.A.-based Arvida makes breakfast, clanging pots and pans, and New York-based Molly sits in front of a sparkly purple and pink curtain – a surreal and fitting stage for our discussion of Internet performativity and visible/invisible histories.

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Five Artists Making Erotic Art in the 21st Century

This essay was originally published on Slutever

I argue that nothing is inherently erotic. And therefore everything can be erotic. Drawing boundaries around what is and isn’t erotic is kind of like drawing boundaries around what is and isn’t sex, what should and should not turn you on – you can’t do it for someone else. Erotica is, for all intents and purposes, in the eye of the beholder.

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A Reading of a Transcript of a Rally

On November 6th, 2016, a group of artists and writers gathered in front of a crowd on the High Line in New York City and read responses to Zoe Leonard’s seminal 1992 text ‘I want a president’ – which had been blown up and wheatpasted onto a nearby wall. The book that grew from this pre-election rally is I want a president: Transcript of a Rally.

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A Brief History of CyberFeminism

This essay was originally published on Slutever

Like all so-called “histories”, this one is imperfect, and incomplete. This Brief History is a 6-point look at a few of the movements, exhibitions and theories that make up cyberfeminism - whatever that may mean. It’s a curated patchwork held loosely together by a common feminist hope for, and vision of, the future - a more subversive, metallic, raucous, queer future populated by hacker chicks and cyborg femmes.

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On Femme Aesthetics & Fashion Politics

This essay was originally published on Slutever

Getting dressed is a highly evocative act. It can be a textile collage of eras, of film references, of borrowed style. I like to look at my outfits as a kind of pastiche – a tongue-in-cheek form of cultural memory, a campy mix of real and imagined characters.

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Hail Marys

Where Ma spills over with quiet embodiment, m/Other stages the disembodiment of language. Ma is told through the movement of silent bodies, and m/Other is a non-narrative, bodiless exploration of verbality. Both works are preoccupied with the maternal image and the distortion of a problematic narrative. The two together are a re-assemblage of dislocated parts, a convergence of subversive articulations.

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Interview with @ButchCamp

This essay was originally published on Slutever

ButchCamp, run by Isa Toledo (a Lisbon-based artist) and Rosie Eveleigh (an Arnhem-based graphic designer), is an ongoing queer historiography project articulated through an important 21st century medium: Instagram. The project features images and text on butch characters and icons (of both the accidental and deliberate variety) by theme, ranging from barber cuts to Hollywood sewing circles to sci-fi & cyborgs - and the butch beyond. The images are carefully curated, and the language is witty. ButchCamp is an important archiving project that highlights and celebrates the queer form — ephemeral though its contours are — that is butchcamp.

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