Art Fag City at The L Magazine: The Art of Disappearing Porn

by Art Fag City on November 12, 2009 · 11 comments The L Magazine

POST BY PADDY JOHNSONStephen Irwin, art fag city, sometimes when we touch, choke
Stephen Irwin, Choke diptych, 2009, Altered vintage pornography, 11 x 17 inches. Image via: Invisible Exports

This week at the L Magazine I write about Stephen Irwin’s exhibition “Sometimes When We Touch” at Invisible Exports. Notably, Jon Haddock, an artist I can in the review for making sloppy erased porn work during the late 90′s just received an award from Art Matters. That news brought to you via e-flux.

The erased porn genre of art making doesn’t have it easy. Artists working in this vein can either be accused of relying to heavily on charged subject matter to unduly infuse their work with meaning or, conversely, that the subject matter isn’t important at all to the artist and thus takes a backseat to the process. We tend to assume the opposite in the case of porn, of course, because the material is so sensitive. We don’t consume or act upon it publicly, it’s considered a taboo subject amongst many, and those in the industry typically suffer for their involvement. None of this screams banality. And yet, asking the inevitable question evoked by Stephen Irwin’s erased porn exhibition at Invisible Exports—namely, why is that erect penis “not” in that other guy’s mouth—still doesn’t result in much conceptual content.

Filling the narrow gallery with pages drawn from vintage porn, the array of grids and other arrangements suggest sexual activity without ever explicitly depicting it. Irwin works exclusively with magazines printed in the 1960s, up through to the 80s, taking advantage of that era’s standard gravure process (ink transfer through pressure), so he can easily remove parts of the photograph from his paper. The result is a lot of magazine spreads that look as though they have been painted white. Many of the remaining images looked a little too familiar to be interesting—they’re obviously just vintage porn—but areas in which the artist carefully removed ink with steel wool subtly shifted in tone, and the weight of the objects themselves reads significantly.

To read the full review click here.

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    This line just occurred to me, but the problem with the erased porn genre is you are trying to have your cock and eat it too. Only in reverse: you get the sexual charge of working with loaded imagery without the imagery being present to get you into trouble.

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    This line just occurred to me, but the problem with the erased porn genre is you are trying to have your cock and eat it too. Only in reverse: you get the sexual charge of working with loaded imagery without the imagery being present to get you into trouble.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    Ha! Good point.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    Ha! Good point.

  • http://www.crywalt.com/ Chris Rywalt

    Could be the problem with erased porn is it’s just stupid.

  • http://www.crywalt.com/ Chris Rywalt

    Could be the problem with erased porn is it’s just stupid.

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    It’s not stupid if you don’t tell anyone about the erasure. But then, arguably it is no longer in the genre.

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    It’s not stupid if you don’t tell anyone about the erasure. But then, arguably it is no longer in the genre.

  • http://www.crywalt.com/ Chris Rywalt

    I’m uncertain how not telling people about the erasure makes it less stupid.

  • http://www.crywalt.com/ Chris Rywalt

    I’m uncertain how not telling people about the erasure makes it less stupid.

  • Pingback: SOMETIMES WHEN WE TOUCH « party hair everywhere

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