Notes from the Arts + Crafts Research Studio of Andrew Cornell Robinson
The outsider, the queer, the goth rock priestess, the pandrogyne , the side show freak, the trannie and the power of pussy are on parade in the current exhibition “Womanizer” curated by Julie Atlas Muz and Kembra Pfahler at Deitch Projects.
This exhibition takes an up close and personal look at the work of seven wild, irreverent and audacious performers and artists who manage to confront shock and transgress the ultra-commoditized, faux-culture, within which we are usually immersed.
Visitors to the main gallery are greeted with a “welcome” spoken in multiple languages by the ever so talented “Mr. Pussy” aka Julie Atlas Muz’s costumed and animated genitalia. The image of Muz’s “Mr. Pussy” is featured in a looping welcome video as well as multiple color photographs of “Mr. Pussy” in various poses with props from pipes to a well groomed and waxed mustache and plastic googley eyes. In the far end of the gallery is an installation by Kembra Pfahler of the band “The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black.” Kembra has created a bed set tucked into a corner and surrounded by walls plastered and colored with a thick menstrual like red paste. The bed contains a skeleton and several plush dolls in multiple colors. Off to the side a video plays showing Kembra ripping the dolls out of a birthing canal, with thick red blood spurting and an unnerving audio track akin to the tinkle of a small girl’s musical jewelry box. Another treat on the opposite wall is the visual variety of surgical and anatomical photography and a horrific gumball machine filled with blood stained dried up tampons and various examples of spinning taxidermy. This wonder cabinet of pandrogyne creations is brought to us by Breyer P-Orridge, the artistic entity and brainchild of Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge and Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, the latter of “Throbbing Gristle” fame. These two gender variant activists / performance artists explore and deconstruct a culturally imposed narrative which resides in the environment of the body. According to P-Orridge
“It’s not about gender… Some feel like a man trapped in a woman’s body, others like a woman trapped in a man’s body. The pandrogyne says, I just feel trapped in a body. The body is simply the suitcase that carries us around. Pandrogyny is all about the mind, consciousness.”
P-Orridge goes on to say that “…Pandrogeny is not about defining differences, but about creating similarities. Not about separation but about unification and resolution.” †
† On the flip side of ambiguity and away from the tumult of the main gallery can be found a queer confessional created by Vaginal Crème Davis. The small pinkish room is plastered with memorabilia, photographs, pornography, and shelves filled with correspondence, and personal artifacts, which visitors were invited to peruse. It looks like the dressing room behind the scenes of a Nan Goldin photograph. In the background is an audio of Davis elaborating of a variety of topics which include sucking on big cock, and ecstatic exclamations such as “Tom Cruise has the cleanest asshole I’ve ever seen!” This verbal barrage goes on and on, and I found myself laughing guffaws as I riffled through her drawers. Outside of the confessional are a series of side show pin up photographs created by Bambi the Mermaid of Coney Island. She manages to draw out a comic sensibility through her saccharine portrayals of characters such as Bambi the Dog Faced Girl and other hypnotic grotesqueries.
This exhibition illustrates the unique vocabulary of these funny, transgressive and powerful heroines who celebrate and ritualize themselves through their theatrical use of the body and its visceral qualities.
By Andrew Cornell Robinson Written for the Gay City News
“Womanizer”Julie Atlas Muz, Breyer P-Orridge, Liz Renay, Vaginal Crème Davis, Kembra Pfahler, Bambi The Mermaid, E.V. Day
Deitch ProjectsJanuary 06 – January 27, 2007 76 Grand Street, New York http://www.deitch.com/