Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Coming to Power: 25 Years of Sexually X-Plicit Art by Women

by Drew Martin
Coming to Power: 25 Years of Sexually X-Plicit Art by Women is a show at Maccarone, which closes in a few days. It is a restaging of the show by the same name from 1993 at the David Zwirner Gallery. Typically, at such sexually explicit shows, I find myself objectively taking it all in and then criticizing myself at a level because I know I am not comfortable enough to be so bold. But maybe it’s in that process of creating this kind of art that does the emboldening. But then I wonder why anyone would want to be so blatant. Is it just a kind of power trip? Is it liberating? Or is it just for shock-value? What was different today was that not only did I feel like I did not have to question myself (maybe because the “by women” part precluded me as a creator/contributor) but I also enjoyed a kind of honest truth behind it during this political madhouse of oscillating moral values, repressive half-truths, and carnal energies. Even though the exhibit had blackened doors and walls that hide the show in a down-a-dark-alley adult world, there was a very easy-going, unashamed feeling to it. And while a lot of the artwork is titillating, I was most attracted to the work by Louise Bourgeois (Janus and Janus in Leather Jacket, 1968) and Yoko Ono’s Object in Three Parts – Revolution from 1963: a white diaphragm, condom, and birth control pill on three black pedestals next to the entrance.