Sex Work | A transgressive spin on art and sexuality
“Sex Work: Feminist Art & Radical Politics” is a dedicated section at Frieze London 2017, curated by New York- and Warsaw-based Alison Gingeras. Sex Work, according to Gingeras, will ‘pay homage to artists who transgressed sexual mores, gender norms and the tyranny of political correctness and were frequently the object of censorship in their day’ in addition to ‘highlighting the seminal role galleries have played in exhibiting the radical women artists who were not easily assimilated into mainstream narratives of feminist art.’
The selection celebrates nine woman artists who had been working at the extreme edges of feminist practice since the 1960s, and the galleries who supported them, including: Galerie Andrea Caratsch presenting Betty Tompkins; Blum and Poe presenting Penny Slinger; Richard Saltoun presenting Renate Bertlmann; Salon 94 presenting Marilyn Minter; and Hubert Winter presenting Birgit Jürgenssen.
The artists in Sex Work have been instrumental in making the case for erotic representation, sexual empowerment, and the usefulness of pornography to disturb normative attitudes towards gender roles. While often considered as straying from the feminist flock, today they provide essential performative, discursive, and iconographic precedents for a host of art practices and pop cultural phenomena that explore audacious, sex-positive terrain.
A summit of pioneers that do not only challenged feminist art, but at the same time paved the way for appropriation artists like Richard Prince.
“Sex Work: Feminist Art & Radical Politics” is on display at Frieze London until Oct. 8, 2017.
Featured image: (Untitled)” (1979) by Birgit Jürgenssen. via ‘Sex Work’ exhibition of censored feminist art finds home at Frieze by Ana Rosado and Venus Envy