Tuesday, September 17, 2019

He Said, She Said, a commissioned artist book

 (Above:  He Said, She Said, an artist book.  Shut:  9 1/4" x 6 1/4".  Click on any image to enlarge.)

A client in NYC challenged me to create "something erotic".  While this at first seemed more than a little unsettling as I have never actually met the man, it was also in the context of a conversation about one of his other, recent purchases.  He is the proud owner of several Coin Cunts by Suzanna Scott.  They were purchased at Paradigm Gallery in Philadelphia.  (CLICK HERE for Sarah Rose Etter's Philadelphia Weekly article about the artist's work when on display at Paradigm.)  Thankfully, I had already heard about these inside-out coin purses stitched to resemble a vulva. 

 (Above:  He Said, She Said, an artist book.  Cover.)

What I didn't know at the time was the inspiration behind the Coin Cunts.  In Sarah Rose Etter's article, Suzanne Scott says, "I have a thirteen year old daughter and I’m worried about her future. Every day we are bombarded with misogynistic, racist, sexist rhetoric on so many fronts. The poison seeping down from the highest office in our country is emboldening the lowest forms of humanity among us and hate speech is rampant. I do not want my daughter to have to live in this new reality. Our lying, pussy-grabbing president has ignited a smoldering fire among feminist artists and has added many, such as myself, to their numbers.  I feel helpless but I keep making art in the hope that by speaking out through my work I can in some small way help influence positive change for future generations."
(Above:  He Said, She Said, unfolded.)

Such a statement makes sense to me.  Then I looked up the definition of "erotic" and it reads:  relating to or tending to arouse sexual desire or excitement.  Just because I was raised never to speak of anything erotic doesn't necessarily make the entire adjective "bad".  In fact, making "erotic" synonymous with secret/shameful/naughty/indecent/improper is to push matters into a closet, is to allow misogynistic, racist, and sexist rhetoric to continue, and is to make female body parts taboo.  Besides, I've actually made erotic art before ... and I revisited one of these pieces in order to create this artist book.

(Above:  He Said, She Said, an artist book from 2011.)

In fact, I gave my new book the same name and used most of the lines too.  CLICK HERE for a video showing this earlier work.  It is musically set to Ravel's Bolero.  Instead of a Coptic bound book of words written in clipped letters, the new book is a digital creation in an accordion style placed inside the covers of an old, cloth bound book.  It was fun to make.  It was a challenge to think about eroticism, personally, politically, and artistically.

1 comment:

Ann Scott said...

Thank you for sharing this and for creating art on the topic of erotica. The feelings that came over me from your video, just from words, surprised me. There is so much I could share but I'm just not there yet. I so agree with the quote from Suzanna Scott.