Bruce LaBruce calls himself “the reluctant pornographer.” Since the early 80s, Mr. LaBruce, 50, has used art to explore tabooed fetishes from gerontophilia to zombie sex. His latest work is an exhibition of photography (and a short film) called “Obscenity,” currently showing at The Hole gallery until August 20. The photographs act as an ad campaign for a limited-edition perfume Mr. LaBruce just released, also called “Obscenity,” which is selling for $500.
Over the years, Mr. LaBruce has taken his art around the world, and several times his work has been seized by Canadian customs on his return home. The name “obscenity” references the letters Mr. LaBruce has received from customs informing him why his work was taken. The series of 20 photographs in “Obscenity” feature only two models–a man and a woman. Half of the pictures are an homage to Jack Nicholson and Ann-Margret in the 1971 film Carnal Knowledge. The rest consider the relationship between the religious and the sexual. A femme fatale wraps her limbs around a priest. A nun balances a holy wafer on her tongue. We met up with Mr. LaBruce at The Hole to talk about the show.
For some the streets of New York map out an adult playground that comes alive after dark, for others they are the setting for a revolution perpetually stalled. A pair of current exhibitions embodies these opposing sides of Gotham’s metropolitan coin, presenting viewers with two very different takes on contemporary urban cool.
Over the past year, a remarkable number of exhibitions at contemporary art galleries have paired new art with fin-de-siècle French painting. Among them were Algus Greenspon’s wonderfully eccentric hang of Odilon Redon and Dan Colen, Julia Margaret Cameron and Kai Altoff in “Invitation to the Voyage” last fall, Andrew Kreps’s smart take on Pierre Bonnard and Édouard Vuillard in January’s “Interiors,” the kitschy, Playboy-sponsored “Giverny” by E.V. Day and Kembra Pfahler at the Hole, and “À Rebours,” the Symbolist-macho premiere of Observer contributor Adam Lindemann’s new Venus on Manhattan gallery.
There was a bodyguard inside the Hole gallery on Thursday night next to a velvet rope. A large sculpture of Mickey Mouse with a large and erect penis stood on one side of him. On the other side was what looked like one of the coin-operated children’s rides you might see outside of a Rite-Aid, but it was in the shape of a large pink penis. Once the guard lifted the rope, you could walk into Andre Saraiva’s exhibition, “Andrepolis.” A pinkish haze hung in the air, through which a miniature city of Art Deco-styled sculptures of buildings glowed blue, pink and purple, decked with delicate Edison lights on top. Neon lights flashed above their tiny doors, denoting which city each building represented—apropos for a nightlife impresario and artist whose Le Baron club has venues in Paris, Tokyo and New York.
Recent art history is filled examples of artists painting their compatriots. Think of Philip Pearlstein doing Andy Warhol, or Warhol doing Joseph Beuys. More than 100 more examples are about to join that tradition, thanks to the Hole gallery’s director, Kathy Grayson, who has asked scores of artists—including Yoko Ono, Ryan McGinley, Terence Koh, Tim Noble and Sue Webster (downtown types, for the most part)—to portray each other for a show that opens tomorrow, called “Portraits of a Generation.”
TUESDAY, JUNE 5
Discussion: Whitney Biennial Curators in Conversation with Michelle Kuo at Artists Space Books & Talks
The Whitney Biennial is just about over—the final festivities occur on Sunday, June 10, the same day that the last of its galleries close for de-installation. The biennial’s co-curators, Jay Sanders and Elisabeth Sussman, and its Read More
Week in Pictures
It’s not often that we hear of galleries with supermodels for assistant directors. But then again, the Hole isn’t an ordinary gallery. So when it was announced that May Andersen, the Hole’s assistant director, would appear on the cover of the May 2012 Playboy, and that the gallery would be hosting a signing tomorrow evening at the bookstore adjacent to the gallery, the news struck us as both odd and alluring.
This week, Gallerist traveled far and wide around the boroughs, from Bushwick at the Bogart Salon where Francis Greenburger and Ann Fensterstock were among the panelists convened to discuss “Capital and Its Discontents,” over to the Hole on the Bowery for a phallic reading with champagne and cupcakes, up to Chelsea where we stopped in for the Read More
Friday night, true to the words of gallerist Kathy Grayson, her gallery, the Hole, had been transformed into Monet’s gardens at Giverny, or as close an approximation as can be had on the Bowery. The installation was created to house the photographs taken by E.V. Day of Kembra Pfahler at Giverny in Ms. Day’s signature futuristic style, which feature a campy twist: Ms. Pfahler, nude, covered in brightly colored paint.
After we overheard Artnet critic Charlie Finch shouting at Salman Rushdie, “Christopher Hitchens is dead! Are you sad?” and watched well-dressed young people sipping mulled wine; after Jonas Mekas videotaped Lola Schnabel, who was wearing some kind of furry animal-print number, talking with her father (in a double-breasted suit jacket and unwashed pajama bottoms) in Read More