Ron Athey will be performing his iconic Sebastian presentation on Thursday night at The Coronet in London. After living here for six years he is about to return to his native Los Angeles. It’s an evening not to be missed, – this legendary performance has never actually been performed in the UK and it will take place under the guidance of Torture Garden. All of the costume’s have been created by Alexandra Groover except for the infamous Leigh Bowery coat in the possession of Athey. So to celebrate this important date we’ve spoke to Ron to find out more about this seminal piece of work.
For anyone who doesn’t know about your work, could you explain what Sebastiane is?
Sebastiane is my 5th performance using the martyrdom of St. Sebastiane as the premise for an action. From 1991 to the present time. The original inspiration was a hallucination triggered by the Mishima photographs from the 60s
The performance of Sebastiane at the Coronet Theatre is a group evening I’ve curated around the Sebastiane presentation, performed with Sage Charles, Jon John, and special guest from Glasgow: Russell MacEwan of Black Sun Drum Corps. We’ll be performing again Friday night in Rome at the Giacomo Guidi Arte Contemporanea Bunker of Arts.
The sound is entirely percussion and one section of a call’and’respond with ecstatic vocals. The performance starts as a procession, continues on stage, and ends as a reliquary production line.
Could you explain what Body Probe is?
Body Probe was started by Torture Garden in the 90s, as a way of showcasing new work including extreme bodywork and performances of a sexual nature, in an evening of performance. The performances within the large fetish club party are interesting, but more of an intervention, people want to dance and [...]
To put it frankly – If you’re not aware of who Melinda Gebbie is and your interests span feminism and countercultural history there’s been a huge gap in your field of interest. Gebbie has been working as a comic book artist and illustrator since the 70s, emerging during the San Fransisco comix book scene and causing a respectable amount of controversy along the way. Her visions explore the depths of female sexuality in a way which still has the power to shock and disgust people to this day. Obscenity laws have followed her, seeing her books being ordered to be banned and burned right up until very recently. Most prominently Margaret Thatcher seized her comic Fresca Zizis (translating into Fresh Cocks in Italian) on the grounds of their ‘pornographic’ content in 1985 where they are still illegal.
Some of her most infamous work is that of the Lost Girls where with her husband Alan Moore, she spent sixteen years creating the comic which brazenly addressed fantasies of eroticism in the context to three fairy tale women of the early 19th and 20th century.
In 20th century underground culture, Gebbie hasn’t created the most shocking or controversial work, however the very simple fact that these ideas have spurred from a woman have deemed her work unacceptable by the establishment.
Besides from the brilliantly brave and provocative themes to her work, their aesthetic is totally original and exciting.
In light of one of her first ever solo shows at London’s Horse Hospital named ‘What is the Female Gaze‘ we met up to discuss her impressive and inspiration career and life. The very fact that this is her first solo show really is a crying shame that her work is only being recognised and shared to a [...]
VIN LOS is a young, gay man living in Montreal who by all accounts fits perfectly into the normal. He takes and shares endless selfies of his gym invested body to the happiness of his mass male audience, his stereotypical good looks are comforting to the eye and his social media presence possesses that strange normality where he’s collected a mass following while living a lifestyle most probably similar to that of your childhood neighbour.
Almost everything about him is so extraordinarily mainstream that this banality has morphed itself into utter bizarreness.
The average aspiration of any given individual now is that of a person fixated with luxury, wealth and confused consumerism. Capitalism with no aim and showing this off to your virtual world is now the non-challenged goal posts of a successful and happy life.
So why am I writing about VIN LOS now? If someone is really that normal, why on a magazine like Sang Bleu would we be giving an audience to such a conformist?
Where in many ways VIN LOS encompasses a conventionalist, his decision to capture our attention through his dreams which have engulfed themselves into his body modification is totally extreme.
VIN LOS has tattooed a variety of commercial words sporadically all over his face and upper body in his own handwriting. The words vary in size, most prominently the word FAME has been written on his forehead, followed by phrases and words like SCREAM MY NAME, OBSESSED, GUILTY, ICONIC, SEXY, GO HARD, FAME OBSESSED, WORLDWIDE, MY MAN IS STR8, MOST TALKED ABOUT, TOP OF THE WORLD, and many, many others.
The blatancy of VIN LOS placing his empty ambitions permanently onto his body takes the average quest for fame and fortune to a whole new level of dedication. You may have seen VIN LOS recently [...]
The Sang Bleu London Contemporary Art & Project Space is happy to announce an exhibition with Cockney opening tomorrow.
In his first publication, comprised of two inseparable volumes, Chiaro / Scuro, Cokney contrasts his alternative life and work with the way it is seen by the vandal squad who, in his case, have become art-critic-prosecution-witnesses. Cokney’s illegal painting, from metro depots to law courts, via the Palais de Tokyo art centre, is ‘clair-obscur’, chiaroscuro, light and dark: the contrast of pigments, the darkness of metro depots lit with neon, obscure anonymity next to the reputation of a pseudonym, exiting clandestinity, entering judicial and cultural institutions. Arrested and convicted in 2012, then charged in 2014, the artist was fined 228,000 euros for voluntary damage, and is awaiting trial for criminal conspiracy.
Book 1: Chiaro, the white book.
When Cokney was released from custody after his first arrest in 2012, the police handed him two rolls of undeveloped film: rolls no. 10012A12 and 10112A12. The artist didn’t yet want to see the photos that were saved from the material confiscated for his criminal record. He will discover them, like the readers, in this first volume, which assembles interviews, memories, analyses, manifestos… pages written by Cokney, of course, but also by guests invited for the occasion, pages that are bound in Japanese style and which, once their folds are torn open, will reveal these forgotten, secret photos – so many fragments of his clandestine life rendered public with his arrest. While the digital era has turned the graffiti milieu upside down, updating it to the web 2.0 era, Cockney continues to photograph his paintings the old-fashioned way, not wishing to forget the fear of finding spoiled shots in his prints, of losing [...]
To start with, would you like to tell us when did you start to get interested in kink and Fetish?
Well, I get interested very early on in my life, to a certain extent I found about SM and quite hardcore SM before I found out about normal sexuality. When I was a child in Italy, by chance, I came across a bunch of fetish magazines. I was with some other kids my age, I must have 11 or 12 years old then, and we found those magazines that we thought were porn. It was the 80’s you know, at the time of those magazines. And they turned out to be fetish magazines, and where all my friends got disgusted by it when realising they were not normal sex magazines, but on the other hand I got really interested in them, so I kept them and started to buying them even if I was a bit young…
Where did you find those first copies?
In a ditch by a suburban road. Someone must have thrown them out of a car on the way home or something.
Do you remember what magazine was the first one you found? Do you still have it?
Of course, it was called “I Moderni” (translated “The Moderns”) it was an underground publication in Italy in the 80s. Most pictures were in black and white and I think a good deal of the buyers of the magazine were because of the classified ads and meet ups (this is way before the internet). No I do not still have it, if anything my mother threw away tons of S&M magazines during my youth.
How did manage to buy them at the time?
I started to buy them a few years [...]
Ash Thayer lived within New York’s Lower East Side’s squatting community during the 1990s and she has just released a book documenting her time there. The photos are of a particular originality due to the fact that this community rarely allowed photographers or journalists within the squats. Since these photos were taken we’ve seen Manhattan turn into some kind of unachievable capitalist impossibility so these photos show the last stab at creating a community within the abandoned buildings of the last remaining run down buildings on the island. Filled with drug addicts, punks, anarchists and squatters, collectivity they took upon themselves to make these inhibitable but wasted buildings into functioning places to lives.
Thayer captured a vast variety of the various ongoings during this iconic time and are perfectly projected into this new book published by Powerhouse named KILL CITY. We’ve interviewed her to find out more about her experiences of community and rebellion and how she projected this into her intimate images.
Written by Adam Lehrer
When Comme des Garçons debuted its new menswear collection at Paris Men’s Fashion Week, one couldn’t help but notice the jumpers and blazers printed with phrases like “Born to Die” that came down the runway. The pieces were striking in and of themselves, but perhaps even more surprising was that the garments were directly inspired by the work of multi-disciplinary artist Joseph Ari Aloi, AKA JK5, who is probably most known as an innovative tattooer.
Tattooers have certainly been able to branch into other media over the last 10 years, and art and fashion commonly intersect. But never has the work of a tattooer featured so heavily on the garments of a brand as prominent as Comme des Garçons. The collection might be able to elevate tattoos as a form and open up new opportunities for artists that are best known for tattoos. More interestingly, it has given confidence to Aloi to chase his true dream to be a high fashion designer.
The work of JK5 is always evolving. He has been drawing since he could hold a crayon, and has continued to develop his style and build his visual vocabulary ever since. From tattoos to visual art to product design, Aloi is always finding new platforms to express his voice. He is often unaware of the forces that he’s channeling, which allows his work to reach new and unexpected heights, “It’s like Jay Adams on a skateboard and really creative things are happening but that dude is just moving. Or Jimi Hendrix just playing the guitar,” he explains, “It’s just happening naturally because you are the conduit.”
The Comme collection unfolded when Aloi tattooed a client who had a position at the brand, a client who eventually shared Aloi’s [...]