You really have to be careful what you ask for, because just yesterday I thought to myself wistfully that the Chelsea “Porn movement” was rather inactive, when moments later received word that Friedrich Petzel is hosting a new exhibition of naked women by Dana Hoey titled Pattern Recognition. Hoo Boy! right? Well, not if you are looking for titillation since the show, to quote the press release “…Is an exhibition comprised of new photographs of sexualized women, all over the age of 40.”
To be honest, Hoey wasn’t quite what I had in mind when I was thinking of revisiting this subject matter, since intellectualized porn isn’t really my thing. The press release only re-enforces this as it is so full of art speak I fear the worst for the exhibition. Apparently first wave feminism has something to do with something in the show, but I’ll have to find myself some sort of feminist decoder ring to figure that out, because as far as I know first wave concerned itself primarily with women’s suffrage*.
The new look to her work is slightly misleading in that this is not new territory for the artist at all. She has built a reputation off of her “flair for off beat subject matter”, and this work certainly remains consistent with that idea. Typically, I have found her work to be interesting only on occassion, as it often seems to be supported by ideas that are more interesting than the work itself. For instance, her last show at Friedrich Petzel, Moon Bitches which was critically acclaimed, featured several of staged photographs of young women testing the limits of youth immortality. The idea itself merits investigation, but the work looked like every other photography show I had seen that year, only a little more pretentious.
In any case, the point is I can’t claim to know why people are so interested in this stuff, but I’m going to the opening May 6th to figure it out. Nobody “gets” everything, but *I guess* there is some value in the attempt to do so.
UPDATE: Perhaps I should retitle this post The Summer of Sex and rethink the statement “chelsea porn movement almost dead” as about two seconds after I published this piece I recieved a press release from Power House Books titled Flesh Life: Sex in Mexico City. Guess what the book is about?
*women’s suffrage: gaining the right to vote