Left, John Cage, from Lecture on Nothing, 1959. Via. Read it in its entirety. Right, Lutz Bacher, from the series Sex with Strangers, 1986, 9 B&W photographs, framed, 72 x 40 inches each. From the exhibition at Galerie Bucholz, Köln, April 2014. Via.
In Sterling Ruby’s 2009 video installation, “The Masturbators,” male porn stars jack off alone. Recently, while interviewing him for an unrelated magazine piece, I asked Ruby what it was like to work with the men. He told me that when the porn stars came in, they were mostly full of bluster, like—you want me to what? That’s it? Ruby nodded. Then watched as, one by one, the professionals couldn’t finish the job. Some of them broke down, almost crying. One screamed repeatedly to turn off the camera. Another got so upset he threatened to break down the door between him and the smaller man, the artist, and beat him up.
Ruby said a smart thing: that it was embarrassing to be a man, but he wouldn’t have it any other way. He also said he thought the US porn industry, a phrase I can’t tell if he meant synecdochically, was cruel for telling men to come on command. I agreed, but I also thought the men broke down in their small white rooms, one at a time in front of one camera, because they’d never before had to be the lone objects of a gaze. And, lacking the feminized receptacle without which the dick can’t exist, they began to feel, for perhaps the first time in a while, the embarrassment of just being human.
See also, The Masturbators.
Worried that he didn’t look as cut as he did in the video, he’d delay shows to do stomach crunches. He’d often give in, peeling off his shirt, but he resented being reduced to that. Wasn’t he an artist? Couldn’t the audience hear the power of his music and value him for that? He would explode, Questlove recalls, and throw things. -Questlove
And I am pretty impressed with how many artists I recognized.
My boss was telling me a story about a prank that an artist did to a bunch of other artists like Jeff Koons and such (it was the 80’s) that they asked them to come and get their photograph with Michael Jackson. Every single person showed up and were freaking out excited to meet Michael Jackson, and of course he was never scheduled to be there and they just had a photograph of just them, all hoodwinked and such.
Anywho, I don’t know where I’m going with this but I thought it was tangential. Everyone gets excited to see their favorite musicians. I’ve never seen Lawrence Weiner smile so broadly.
Also, Jay-Z hugs Marina Abramovic at the end and asks her if she liked it. That was pretty cute.
Andre Saraiva’s Dream Concerts on the corner of La Brea and Willoughby, Los Angeles, CA.