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(NSFW) The Pleasure Principle: A Pornhub Co-Production at Maccarone


Trulee Hall, still from Eve's Mime Menage, video, 2013 (Maccarone Gallery)Trulee Hall, still from Eve's Mime Menage, video, 2013 (Maccarone Gallery)Trulee Hall, still from Eve's Mime Menage, video, 2013 (Maccarone Gallery)Trulee Hall, installation view at Maccarone (Photo by Shana Nys Dambrot)Trulee Hall, installation view at Maccarone (Photo by Shana Nys Dambrot)The Pleasure Principle, installation view at Maccarone (Photo by Shana Nys Dambrot)The Pleasure Principle, installation view at Maccarone (Photo by Shana Nys Dambrot)Still from Doris Wishman's Let Me Die a Woman (Maccarone Gallery)Narcissister at Maccarone Gallery (Photo Chris Castillo)Mary Beth Edelson, Totem Series, Sake Goddess via Metropolis, 1973 (Maccarone)Mary Beth Edelson, The Fury of the Mother Whose Child has Been Taken, 1973 (Maccarone)Mary Beth Edelson, Sheela's Tight Spot, oil ink and collage on silver gelatin print, 1975 (Maccarone)Mary Beth Edelson, Open Wide, collage on silver gelatin print, 1975 (Maccarone)Mary Beth Edelson, Many Happy Returns, 1973 (Maccarone)Lynda Benglis in The Pleasure Principle, installation view at Maccarone (Photo by Shana Nys Dambrot)Kathe Burkhart, Whore, from the Liz Taylor series, 2013 (Maccarone)Kathe Burkhart, Pervert, from the Liz Taylor series, 2007 (Maccarone)E.V. Day, Saarinen's Mother, 2008, silk crotchless panties, resin, blown glass, monofilament (Maccarone)E.V. Day, Saarinen's Mother, 2008, silk crotchless panties, resin, blown glass, monofilament at Maccarone (Photo by Shana Nys Dambrot)Doris Wishman, Satan Was a Lady, instalation view at Maccarone (Photo by Shana Nys Dambrot)Delia Brown, Katception (Foot Fetish) at MaccaroneDelia Brown, Brinda (Carnations) at MaccaroneAnita Steckel, Untitled Tom of Finland series at Maccarone (Photo by Shana Nys Dambrot)

Upon hearing that a major contemporary art gallery has partnered with Pornhub to present a group exhibition, skepticism is absolutely an appropriate response. But the eye-rolls soon give way to genuine curiosity with a perusal of the checklist. Made up entirely of feminist icons and transgressive luminaries, The Pleasure Principle includes new and historical work by Lynda Benglis, Amy Bessone, Louise Bourgeois, Delia Brown, Kathe Burkhart, Nao Bustamante, Cameron, Renee Cox, E.V. Day, Martha Edelheit, Mary Beth Edelson, Tracey Emin, Karen Finley, Trulee Hall, Hilary Harkness, Ann Hirsch, Marilyn Minter, Narcissister, Bettie Page, Laurie Simmons, Annie Sprinkle, Anita Steckel, Doris Wishman, and Bunny Yeager.

Still though, Pornhub, right? “The exhibition space is a platform for unfettered artistic expression, similar to the zone Pornhub has created for uninhibited sexual content on the Internet,” reads the press release, and that it is. The truth is that while there is no shortage of explicit nudity on display — both actual and imagined, schematic and cartoonish, live in performance and enshrined in photography, painting, sculpture, mixed media and video, so much video — there are real issues worth investigating along the intersection of fine art and pornography.

The complexities of expressing empowered and self-directed female sexuality within a culture hell-bent on objectifying and commodifying the female form are thorny and pernicious. Many women across arts and culture theory have posited and enacted strategies for smashing the patriarchy without recourse to its tools and language. That conversation is in fact presented at Maccarone rather deftly, if unsubtly, as not only rich in history, but very much alive and kicking today.

The exhibition includes live performances by Karen Finley, Delia Brown, and Narcissister.

In Karen Finley’s Sext Me if You Can, visitors sign up for a 10-minute sexting session and commissioned portrait. Schedules available on the gallery’s website.

In Live Drawing, Delia Brown reanimates the traditional setting of the artist atelier, creating drawings of live models in a peep show hidden within the gallery space. The artist will perform from 7-9pm on Saturday, September 21; noon-6pm on Saturdays October 5 12; noon-3pm on Sundays October 6 and 13.

Narcissister’s The Face (Performing male facial features) is a performance-driven sculpture, activated by the artist and other performers, with dates and times announced on the gallery’s Instagram.

Maccarone, 300 S. Mission Rd., downtown; Wednesday – Sunday, 11am-6pm, through December 1; free. maccarone.net.

pornhub.com/art/pleasure-principle