ON OUR BACKS: The Revolutionary Art of Queer Sex Work

by Jiz Lee on / Art

I’d like to write more on this later, as I’ve been so busy. For the moment, I wanted to share how elated I am to be included in a landmark exhibit, “ON OUR BACKS: The Revolutionary Art of Queer Sex Work” that runs now through January 19th, 2020 at the Leslie-Lohman Museum in New York. This exhibit displays the art of several queer sex workers spanning several decades and was made possible though a grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation.

Among the work on display is a retrospective of archival materials and images from Pink & White Productions and director Shine Louise Houston’s near 15 years of filmmaking. A vitrine includes The Crash Pad and some of its early appearances such as a preview for the film in On Our Backs Magazine (Fall 2005), a review by Felice Newman in the Bay Times (March 2006), and an interview with Shine in Curve Magazine (February 2006). Another shelf displays her 35mm lens adapter and trophies like her first “Feminist Porn Award” presented by Good For Her, and “Sylvester Pride in the Arts Award” from San Francisco’s Harvey Milk Democratic Club. And a binder contains pages from her productions including storyboards and breakdown sheets and notes. And a wall displays over 60 images and quotes from CrashPadSeries.com, which of course is only a tip of the iceberg. Here’s some of the installation, photography by Kristine Eudey, 2019. Courtesy the Leslie-Lohman Museum.

 

Also on display is Dear Jiz by Ms. Naughty and myself. (Read more about the project here.)

ON OUR BACKS: The Revolutionary Art of Queer Sex Work
September 28, 2019 – January 19, 2020
Curated by Alexis Heller

This exhibition explores the history of queer sex work culture, and its intimate ties to art and activism. Coined by bisexual activist, Carol Leigh, aka. The Scarlot Harlot in 1978, ‘sex work’ is broadly defined as exchanging sex or erotic services for gain and connotes personal agency and politicized action. More than a portrait of life at the margins, what emerges in this exhibit is a demonstration of queer and transgender sex workers’ deep community building, creative organizing, self-empowerment, identity/desire affirmation and healing and the use of pornography as a deft tool for queer and trans liberation.

More information about the exhibit can be found at leslielohman.org.

Jiz Lee

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