Friday, July 20, 2012

some like it hot

Buy My Bananas
curated by Julia Trotta 

Excellent summer sizzle at Kate Werble Gallery where curator Julia Trotta has mounted a smart and sassy riff on male anatomy. Her long list of artists includes steamy works by Amanda Church, Aura Rosenberg, Martha Friedman, Anne-Lise Coste, Kathe Burkhart, Linda Lighton, and more (!!), whose visual banter and jock-u-larity are a perfect summer treat.

Trotta, the granddaughter of feminist super-intellect, Linda Nochlin, trades on gram's groundbreaking research to shed a little light between the sheets.

Observing the bounty of dirty pictures featuring women engaged in all manner of folderol with fruit and vegetables, in 1972 Nochlin produced "Buy My Bananas," a spoof on mid-19th century porn and the vintage "Buy My Apples," left. Her long-haired subject, a male model at Vassar, was only to happy to oblige the famed professor who shot three pictures of him poised just so. Nochlin wasn't a professional or even part-time photographer -- this was the only significant photo she ever took -- and it was to become the prototypical dick joke for the literati. 

Aura Rosenberg, The Dialectical Porn Rock, 1989-2012
The good thing about pornography is its "last frontier" status. Seeing it where you least expect it -- like a gallery -- allows even the most mild porn to be a little bit brazen, excitable, provocative. It's especially effective in Trotta's
selections here, which range from ribald to whimsical. In Aura Rosenberg's The Dialectical Porn Rock, what began as a practical joke has developed into a trans-national form of installation art. Rosenberg laminates pornographic images on to rock formations that show up installed at various locations -- always where you least expect them -- across the U.S. and in Germany, Switzerland and Italy. It's a cultural rubble that dovetails nicely (and purposefully) with Robert Smithson's landmark essay, The Dialectical Landscape.

Amanda Church, Man with a Big Heart, 2010, oil on canvas

Amanda Church presents a big, glamorous canvas saturated with electric color, salacious curves and liquid, voluptuous form. She's not shy, and here her insinuations of the carnal present a refreshing sexual etymology that is animated, satiric, and delicately naughty -- like Mondrian meets Elizabeth Murray meets Peter Max.

Below, a few images from this fun and provocative show, on view through August 2nd.

Martha Friedman, Tongue Flag, 2010, silicone, rubber, and fiberglass reinforced FGR

L: Kate Burkhart, Cunt, 2010, acrylic on canvas; R: Linda Lighton, Diva, 2000-06, clay, glaze, lacquer

Anne-Lise Coste, Smile at Dice, 2012, spray paint on canvas

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