Interesting and provocative visuals fill this crossroads of sex, art, and religion
Reviewed by Wayne Alan Brenner, Fri., April 2, 2010
Birdhouse Gallery, through April 17
1304 E. Cesar Chavez, www.birdhousegallery.com
What are – but also, in this case, what is – pornsaints?
"Pornsaints is an artistic approach to porn, a pornographic approach to art, a pornartistic approach to religion."
That's from the official website of the globe-spanning organization.
"We will call Pornsaint whoever attains sanctity through pornography. This doesn't mean that each and every porn actor is a pornsaint – for what we know, they're simply pornstars. Pornsaints might not even actually exist, but what interests us is that they might exist, and how they might exist." That is from the explanatory essay by Pornsaints founder Francesco D'Isa, the Italian artist with an abiding appreciation of such possibilities.
"Oh, we've got a lot of great artists for this," says Kathryn Wilson, local curator of the exhibition.
Backing evidence for that statement can be found in the rooms of Birdhouse's expansive gallery-in-a-house on East Cesar Chavez. Erotic evidence, of course: paintings, drawings, photography, videos – images in a diversity of media, with the common NSFW theme boldly foremost.
As you might (joyfully or with annoyance) expect, most of the depictions of saintly pornstars are depictions of women. Which is fine by this (admittedly biased) reviewer, boy howdy, especially when the artwork is as gorgeous as Danny Malboeuf's finely detailed and cyberpunky Firebird painting, Steven Leyba's jewel-encrusted psychedelia-on-canvas, Andrew Tong's classical oil portrait of Hollie Stevens, and so on; these and the other works offer a spectrum of gender-specific eye candy, from the come-hither to the cum-hither shades of pornography.
But that's not to say male figures are wholly unaccounted for. Jeff Faerber's series of acrylic-and-pencil works are well-rendered modern interpretations of the Japanese shunga tradition, thus simultaneously providing the otherwise absent phalluses (and, of course, giant phalluses, at that) and a scholarly harking-back to the ancient Eastern history of erotic representation in fine art.
There's a lot of potential for unpacking here, a lot of theses to be written and humanist/feminist/postmodern themes to be explored by cultural investigators with one agenda or another. But also, just a lot of interesting and provocative visuals for the nonacademic eyes to take in, here at the crossroads of sex and art and religion.
Wayne Alan Brenner, Fri., May 18, 2012
Wayne Alan Brenner, Fri., April 13, 2012
Wayne Alan Brenner, Fri., March 23, 2012
Wayne Alan Brenner, Fri., March 16, 2012
Wayne Alan Brenner, Fri., March 2, 2012
True Believers at Antone's
at The Scoot Inn
Lady for a Day at Paramount Theatre
Film Review Misses Mark Please make a note not to print any more movie reviews of big action movies by Kimberley Jones. She gets ...
What's the Big Deal? I'm baffled by this obsession with Mueller. I drove through it out of curiosity and it's a suburban nightmare that ...
No Mystery in School Bond Failures How out of touch has the Chronicle become with the voting populace of this city? From the article “Bonds: Death ...
Program Is Vital Resource I am responding to your article on ACCESS News, the program by and for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. The ...
Finding Rail Route Complicated Michael King, in “The Reading Railroad”, while making valuable points, seems to state that finding an initial route for urban ...
- Follow us@AustinChronicle