Prostrate anxiety? the thingamagig complex. Objectifying the human body as part of splitting off the corporeal from the spiritual and convicting poor Eros of demon status, branding her forever with the unfavorable P.R. she has had to endure. The short answer of course is that sex sells in all versions from the rough and ready depths of the profane to sacred exaltation. As Keyne’s famously said, ” in the long run, we’re all dead,” so it may not be as significant as we think. These chasms tend to be more delineated than they actually are, in the same manner that Cynthia Epstein has demonstrated that gender differences, are largely constructions to divide not assemble.Like the narcissism of small differences.
Still, it is worthy of notice, that most of the modern high end art relies on perversion to affirm its point. Pornography as art? It does imply an acceptance of the self and a certain bravery to display one’s private parts. The naughty-bits as a ready-made that you can fall in love with, artistically viewed through a magnified sexual filter where genitilia becomes an icon of the banal. There must be a Greek god that guards a warehouse full of Duchamp urinals, stools, bicycle wheels while playing Martha Rosler’s Semiotics of the Kitchen- the editor’s cut with extras- in cross-dress mode.
Maybe its all catering to the American preoccupation to be constantly pleased as a child, wafted away on the odors of innocence while banging their brogues and high heels on the service counter to express their hunger and emotional need to be satiated as a grown-up. Not without controversy:
First, perversion is the result of an essential interplay between hostility and sexual desire…. Second, people with perversions feel (are made to feel) an unending sense of being dirty, sinful, secretive, abnormal and a threat to those finer, unperverse citizens who are supposed to make up the majority of society. Third, the word itself reflects the need of individuals in society to keep from recognizing their own perverse tendencies by providing scapegoats who liberate the rest of us in that they serve as the objects of our own unacceptable and projected perverse tendencies.
Robert Stoller, Perversion: The Erotic Form of Hatred, 1975
DK: I would say it is ultimately nihilistic. I think it is not only anti-art – it is anti-life. Let’s just think for a moment of what Koons did with Chicholina – I’m referring to his sculptures of her. She was his Italian wife, also once a member of the Italian Parliament, and some say a prostitute or call girl or model as well as a celebrity of sorts. They’re now divorced. The sculptures were on view at the Sonnabend Gallery. In one work she looks like a glamorized not to say whorish belle femme sans merci–the eternal feminine downgraded/degraded to a media slut — anti-life indeed…. but pornography does not have to do with the spectator, it has to do with Eros. Read More:http://dks.thing.net/Donald-Kuspit-Diane-Thodos.htmla
It was called Made in Heaven and, in my opinion, was his greatest work. It was, says Koons, about “removing guilt and shame. I saw the Masaccio painting in Florence” – Masaccio’s 15th century picture of Adam and Eve being cast out of paradise in the Brancacci Chapel – “and I was very moved by it; you know you see the guilt and shame that they’re feeling, Adam and Eve.” He wanted to create the answer to this painting R
“a body of work that is kind of about after the fall, but all of this guilt and shame is removed”.
To create Made in Heaven he borrowed all the trappings of Staller’s own art. “I hired her and I used her same photographer, the same place where they developed the film. I wanted her to wear the same costumes, the same backdrops, because everything was a ready-made.”…
…Koons is fascinated by sex – it keeps coming into our conversation, in a conversation about beauty for instance. “If I think of the word beauty, I think of a vagina”, he replies. “I think of the vaginal – personally. That’s what comes to mind for me, or Praxiteles’ sculpture, the ass … ” The ass he’s referring to is that of the Venus of Knidos, carved by the ancient Greek sculptor, Praxiteles, and displayed in a temple that allowed pilgrims to view the goddess of love from all angles. Classical writers tell that enthusiastic beholders stained the marble statue with their ejaculations. And this is a clue as to why he’s keen on sex, as an artist. Eroticism has always been the territory par excellence where lofty ideals are betrayed by basic physical drives: where the beautiful becomes banal. This is why it made sense for Koons to explore pornography as art – because when we lust we are all Jeff Koons.Read More:http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2009/jun/30/jeff-koons-exhibition-serpentine
Like Stoller, Jacques Lacan also differs from Freud, but the latter’s work is too complex – and opaque, if not deliberately obscure – to analyse here in any detail. Suffice to say that Lacan makes a distinction between perverse acts and perverse structures. That is to say, he maintains that perverse acts may be indulged in by non-perverse subjects, but that perverse structures are always perverse, even when they are socially condoned.
For Lacan, cross-dressing represents the epitome of the “perversion of perversions”, as the symbolic object – probably initially the subject’s mother’s panties – is taken by the child as a symbolic substitute for what he believes to be her missing penis….
…Nevertheless, Stoller’s views on perversions demonstrate a distinct break from Freud’s notions on the subject.
Freud believed that perversions arose out of a “fixation” during an early stage of emotional development – or “regression” to that earlier stage – whereas, for Stoller perversions represented emotional revenge for childhood traumas that enabled the pervert to triumph sexually in some symbolic sense over the person they perceived themselves to have been damaged by. Read More:http://www.thewolfshead.co.uk/html/perversion.html
They refute the idea that ‘biology is destiny’ and that deviant sexual practices are perverse. This approach is neatly captured in the phrase ‘sexual dissidence’ , bringing sexuality into the domain of political praxis rather than biological process. A dissident is a protester against the way things are in the name of how they might be if people fought hard enough to change them. Indeed, much of the debate is framed in terms of sexual politics, extending from the women’s movement to gay rights to the men’s movement of fellow-travellers with feminism, rounding out an anti-sexist politics of relations between and within genders. A sign of this movement is a special issue on Perversity of the journal New Formations . The domain of this periodical is conveyed by the subtitle: Culture/Theory/Politics. A generation ago it would seem bizarre to many that this aspect of sexuality should find its way onto the agenda of a journal with those preoccupations.
The key claim is that the relevant framework for considering these issues is that sexuality is inside the symbolic order, not purely an expression of instinctual needs. Biological determinants are not wholly cast aside, but the rigidity of their determining role is greatly reduced. More space is claimed for a range of sexual needs, feelings and practices – a range which is as broad as symbolism, rather than as narrow as instinctual determinism. At one level, all but the most conservative and fundamentalists moralists and religious zealots concede something to this way of thinking. It is now a commonplace that sexuality has a history, that is, it is inside the contingency of culture, not merely fixed and innate in a stereotyped way. To place it inside history is to grant a lot to the dissidents. In my own lifetime and my own sexual history there have been important changes in all sorts of areas. Things which were taboo when I was a boy – even when I was first a bridegroom in the nineteen fifties- are now commonplace, starting with public discussion of sex, including programmes on the radio and television and sex books prominently displayed in all book shops. Some friends and I sent off for a classic, A Marriage Manual, which duly arrived in a plain wrapper, only to disappear days after it was my turn to have it. I found it hidden behind the Britannica many years later – heavily underscored, presumably by my parents.
The list of formerly perverse and increasingly common practices extends from masturbation and mutual masturbation to kissing and sucking breasts to all sorts of acts and paraphernalia: oral sex, anal stimulation, anal penetration, vibrators and other sex aids, role play, dressing up, some forms of bondage, use of videos. Contrast this with Freud, for whom it was a perversion if the lips or tongue of one person came into contact with the genitals of another or if one lingered over aspects of foreplay which, as he quaintly put it, ‘should normally be traversed rapidly on the path towards the final sexual aim’ . In the writings of Alex Comfort and others, foreplay has been extended indefinitely, and the boundary between exploration and abnormality has been blurred. Much – probably most – of what is commonplace in current manuals was taboo when I got married in 1957. Some things which have become commonplace in recent decades are still illegal in many states, provinces and countries. Read More:http://human-nature.com/human/chap4.html