Speaking of Sex: The Human Sexuality Collection

This year New York’s Cornell University Library celebrates the quarter century anniversary of its Human Sexuality Collection, an ongoing study and documentation of sex-focused media. From rare books, essays and letters to artwork and pornography, each piece has been collected with the intention of encouraging research on the many topics related to sexuality, topics that that 25 years ago would have been entirely taboo and largely rejected by academia. The hope was that through this study of the various facets of sexuality and sexual study, particularly that of niche or marginalised areas of the community, that we might begin to view sex from alternative perspectives and, ultimately, accept it as not only a commonality, but as a fundamental part of the human existence.

“It is as if this most vital of human concerns is filled with too many dangers to allow it to be studied seriously.” –David B. Goodstein, former publisher of US LGBT publication The Advocate and benefactor of the Library’s archives.

As part of the celebration the library has provided a brief glance into the archives in an online exhibition Speaking of Sex presenting a host of  important artifacts in documenting the place of sexuality in society and the ongoing struggles people across the world continue to endure because of their sexuality, struggles so often forgotten in the smokescreen of crepe paper floats and ghb-laced partying that threatens to cloud occasions such as this weekend’s Stonewall anniversary. Below is Sang Bleu’s selection of images from the Library’s collection of zines, from independent gay publications to a beginners guide to cruising. (Explore the rest of this illuminating exhibition here.)

 

 


EXHIBITION: BRUCE WEBER – DETROIT

 

In 2006, Detroit was just starting to recover from its downfall – hosting the Superbowl and gently caressing the idea of doing a comeback as a cosmopolitan. Most photographers traveling to Detroit, documenting the city where focusing on its vulnerability and gritty image. Bruce Weber
on the other hand, commissioned by W Magazine was completely obsessed with the city’s vitality and its inhabitants. The 54 page editorial aptly named ‘Welcome to the Motor City’ featuring supermodel Kate Moss with her aura and the city of Detroit capturing the culture and people
of the city.

Last year Bruce Weber went back to Detroit, this time to partner with Shinola, a Detroit based company. Teaming up with casting agent Jennifer Venditti and Carolyn Murphy they went on capturing the Detroit small town feel and sustainable growth. These two assignments and a series of portraits of distinguished friends and colleagues with strong ties to the city are now presented as an exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts starting last Friday, 20th of June – ending Sunday 7th of September.


Detroit Institute of Arts
5200 Woodward Avenue Detroit, Michigan 48202 Monday: Closed Tuesday: 9AM – 4PM Wednesday: 9AM – 4PM Thursday: 9AM – 4PM Friday: 9AM – 4PM Saturday: 10AM – 5PM Sunday: 10AM – 5PM
Free with museum admission

An interview with the creator of ‘The World of Giantess’ a forum to celebrate and explore a fetish for Giant women


Andreas is the creator of a German forum called ‘The World of Giantess’ which explores a fetish for men being scaled down to the size of  insects and women being a totally normal size inducing the notion of the female turning into giants and men becoming vulnerable objects of insignificance.

I found Andreas through flickr where his computer generated images of cinematic scenes showing ant sized men run around the normal sized feet of women in an office space completely blew my mind.

On further inspection I found out that Andreas manages a forum for a cross section of men who all share this fetish and express it though home-made fan art which they share among one another. Andreas’ work explores domestic settings of men trying to escape the attention of these gigantic women, running underneath desks naked and hiding underneath high heels. However the art exhibited on this blog from its various members all explore many different themes of the amazon woman/merciless man relationship.

Many of these men seemed to fantasise about being engulfed by women, either trodden on, swallowed or pressed into crevices of the body – the women having total control of humiliating them. Others seem to enjoy the idea of being invisible to these women, so minuscule in size that they can run all over women’s bodies exploring them without them acknowledging their presence – a kind of female adoration exemplified crossed over with a peeping tom voyeurism.  Some of the images are more explicit than others, taking the form of a more generalised concept of a pornographic aesthetic exaggerating ideas of bodily insertion to the next level. Others resemble more of what looks like a children’s story book where a man goes on some unknown adventure around [...]


Ten Questions: Lars Krutak on “Tattoo Traditions of Native North America: Ancient and Contemporary Expressions of Identity”

While conducting the ongoing “Ten Questions” interview series, it is rare that I actually have the opportunity to sit down and talk face to face with those being interviewed. However, I am happy to say that this interview with Lars Krutak did take place in person and occurred at the recent Northern Ink Xposure tattoo convention in Toronto. This convention marked the North American launch of Krutak’s new book “Tattoo Traditions of Native North America: Ancient and Contemporary Expressions of Identity,” the first book of its kind on the history of Native North American tattooing, spanning, as the title indicates, from ancient to contemporary periods and covering the entire continent. After reading a copy of the book, it is safe to say that this is a landmark text within the discourse of both tattoo history and Indigenous/Native North American studies. Continue reading below for more on the book, but be sure to purchase a copy for yourself. For more information, be sure to visit the book’s Facebook page, and while you’re at it, don’t forget to visit Krutak’s personal website as well.   

Up until now, there hasn’t been a book to survey Indigenous tattooing in North America. Why do you think it has taken so long?

I started this project seventeen years ago and I’ve been collecting archival material, old photographs and interviews. I think because there has been so little written about it before and everything is buried, or in other words, not publicly accessible, or difficult to find, and not to mention funding, I think these are reasons why this material hasn’t been put together in a comprehensive manner. It’s that there is a number of logistical hurdles involved. I find myself sharing a lot of my own information because [...]


Interview with Apro Lee

Since Seoul-based tattooer Apro Lee completed his first guest spot at East River Tattoo last April, his tattoos–contorted, demonic tigers and cartoonish, almost mocking, magpies in particular–have left a lasting impression. With thick, bold lines, expansive stippling, and graphic dotted, slashed, and scratched textures, all his tattoos have a sense of strength and deliberateness that feels appropriate to their place of origin. After all, tattooing is still very much illegal in Seoul, and serious tattooers are still actively and passionately fighting to practice their craft without persecution. We recently caught up with Apro to talk about his background, philanthropy the rough tattoo scene in Seoul.

 

When did you start tattooing? Do you have a background in art?

I started tattooing in Seoul, Korea in 2006. I don’t have any background in art, but as far as I can remember, I was drawing all the time. I had always wanted to be a cartoonist when I was little.

 

I know tattooing is still illegal in South Korea. How does that affect the tattoo scene there? How does the tattoo scene in Seoul compare to other cities you have travelled to?

Yes, tattooing in South Korea is still illegal. There is this strange law that only doctors can tattoo, which is very frustrating. But compared to the days I began about 10 years ago, circumstances and regulations are way better. Back then, there were no [tattoo] masters or [sites like] YouTube that could teach us, nor the proper tattoo equipment dealers. A single needle was $10, so I had to make needles, liners, magnums, etc. every time I tattooed. Can you imagine?

Things are different now, but it still has to stay private and underground like in my studio. The scene here is very territorial [...]


SatoMasochism

Start your week off by by feasting your eyes upon “SatoMasochism” by the divine Peter Sato created for the January edition of Penthouse in 1980. Eighties futurism and lesbian foot fetishsim in the smoothest airbrushing effects don’t really get better than this selection of illustrations. The headless glamour of these anonymous women floating in some strange erotic space ‘evokes the electricity of desire in women flirting with pain’. These illustrations alone are really exceptional but then paired with quotes from Aleister Crowley and Apollinaire about the power and control dynamic of S&M pushes them over the edge of brilliance.

 


Hans Bellmer and his Femme-Enfant

“And the Lord hath smitten him and delivered him into a woman’s hand” Apocrypha: Book of Judith, Chapter 13

An erotic obsession cloaked Hans Bellmer (1902-1975) the German painter, sculptor and photographer. His want for the corruption of innocence was all but matched by the writings of De Sade and Von Sacher-Masoch and in similar vein; his manufacture of sadism also produced a victor and a victim. Inspired by David Ives and Roman Polanski’s invigorating take on ‘Venus in Fur’, similarities can be found in Bellmer’s work in the role play between director/actor and dominated/submissive created in the film. He constructed figures of a haunting fragmented femininity and an anatomical swelling of unfamiliarity. He became the director of his own fantasies, through which the distortion and manipulation of the body was wholly dominated by his hand.

Bellmer’s infamous first collection of images, ‘La Poupee’, reveals to the observer the sensuality and vulnerability of a mutilated form. One single doll; an assemblage of manipulation. He challenged the unconscious fears and desires of man-made physical alterations and brought to attention a sinister attraction for the adolescence. The first set of images is accompanied by a short text ‘Memories of the Doll Theme’, which demonstrates the inner workings of the dolls and their construction. Flowers, linen and mary-jane shoes continue the order of the girl erotic, situating the memory of youth as an integral layer to the experience of viewing. The dismembered body is a sexualised tool, allowing erogenous zones to be multiplied by sight. A masochistic subtext explores both the mastery of his hand and the destructive nature of his wishes. A production of fear in order to protect oneself from what is feared the most, fragmentation and [...]