The Tattooed Parisienne: Reclaiming patriarchal myths of femininity


By Julie Bréthous

The Parisienne is a myth, a legend. She has evolved to represent the global epitome of femininity, of womanhood. Chic, elegant, always well dressed, always appropriate, but still slightly ahead of her time, and with a certain je ne sais quoi, always looking natural, The Parisienne haunts the streets of Paris, embodies the fantasy city that never sleeps and seduces the passer-by. To be a Parisienne is, as American author Richard Bernstein puts it, ‘to belong to a world apart, to an intellectual and moral category, not of class, race and gender, but of a qualitative difference from the rest, an essential worldliness’. To the eyes of others, both men and foreigners, she is the perfection of womanhood. However, women may try as hard as they want to look effortlessly Parisienne, the truth behind that myth is that is was constructed for the sole purpose of selling French arts and fashion to the world. The whole discourse that surrounds that persona is the proof of it: who, what is the Parisienne? It is impossible to define her, as she evolves every season through the glossy pages of fashion magazines to become once a sophisticated modern woman, and six month later some kind of glamourous bohemian. That lack of precision regarding who the Parisienne exactly looks like allows her myth to live on. It lingers and swallows everything on its way, making every new trend his, grows, mutate, and therefore cannot disappear. The truth behind that so-called Parisienne is that it is solely an empty shell invented to be filled with whatever convenient meaning for the French fashion industry.

As the Parisienne reappears over and over in front of the eyes her public, she keeps on being sold as an [...]

Will Munro celebrated at The Centre for Sex and Culture in San Francisco tomorrow evening

Tomorrow, The Centre for Sex and Culture in San Francisco will be hosting an evening in celebration of Will Munro’s life named No Tears for the Creatures of the Night . Will Munro was a legendary queer artist and activist who passed away in 2010 and this evening will bring together a selection of his 8mm films including “You’ll Dance to Anything” and “Rebels Rule”, the artist profile “Will Munro’s Dirty Load”, and Wrik Meads “Filth”.  As well as a selection of work inspired by him .

Filmmaker Kevin Hegge will present his documentary film “She Said Boom: The Story of Fifth Column” about a group of female artists and filmmakers, including GB Jones (The Yo Yo Gang, JD’s Fanzine), who’s female art-punk band helped spawn the queercore and riot girl movements.
Punk photographers Martin Sorrondeguy (Limp Wrist) and Don Pyle (Trouble in the Camera Club) present their slideshow presentation “Clocked”: in which they explore the overt and implicit themes of homosexuality in their photographs of the underground music scene of which their work collectively spans from 1975 to the present day.

We had the chance to speak to Keven Hegge about the evening and his important documentary in preparation for tomorrow evening.

Who is Will Munro?

Will Munro was artist who lived and worked in Toronto until his untimely death in 2010. HIs work involved a lot of craft, like sewing and often explored queer themes in punk rock and rock and roll mythology. Craft was a super important element of the work because Will really made music and art his work, there was a strong working class element to it, rather than have a more institutional relationship to conceptual art making. Because his work came from this genuine obsessive love for music and punk mythology, [...]

Henry Darger at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

Henry Dargers life and works are utterly fascinating, he created a complete world within his book ‘The Realms of the Unreal’ alongside the novel were flags, several hundred paintings, drawings and collages of mainly the heroines of the piece fully entitled ’The Story of the Vivian girls, The realms of the unreal – The Glandeco-angelinian War Storm caused by the child slave Rebellion’.

The Vivian girls were the seven daughters of Robert Vivian, the seven princesses of the Christian nation of Abbieannia. The Vivian girls are brave and strong and constantly fighting a rebellion against the evil child slavery regime led by John Manley and the Glandelininians. Darger was inspired to begin the novel by a photograph in the Newspaper of a five year old murder victim named Elsie Paroubek, who was suffocated to death and her body found a month after her disappearance in a sanitary channel. He lost the photograph, believing it to have been stolen when his locker was broken into. The absence of the photograph greatly disturbed Henry and he even searched archival records to trace another copy down from the old newspaper reports but to no avail.

Elsie is imagined in the novel as Annie Aronburg -the leader of the Vivian girls in their oftentimes horrifically violent fight against the Glandelinians. The gruesome death of Elsie, her disappearance and her funeral were given a huge amount of media coverage in the ‘Daily News’ and other papers at the time. Her killer was never found and, along with Henry never finding the lost photograph, made writing the novel his all consuming obsession; the creation of Darger’s legendary works of outsider art.

Outsider Art is the term used for work made completely separate from traditional art schools or any [...]

8 ball zine fair NYC

8 Ball Zine Fair is a biannual independent art book fair that takes place in a New York City billiards club. Fair No. 7 happens on the 14th June at Space Billiards and will host a variety of independent and self published artworks.

Artists and publishers featured this year are the likes of Printed Matter, Hamburger Eyes, Paradise Plus, Horses Think Press, Research + Destroy NYC, Retard Riot and Born to Kill (whose last offering was a documentation of illegally selling $1 grilled cheese sandwiches from the back of a motorbike in New York).

The ‘drop off’ table still remains; a billiards table where the public can bring their self made zines, posters, t-shirts and patches to sell.

More information can be found here. 

JUNE 14TH 2015
Space Billiards
34 W32nd Street / NYC
12th floor
Open and free to the public. 

Art AIDS America

After the  reality of the AIDS epidemic dawned upon us in the 1980s, how we perceived sexuality was irreversibly shook. Art AIDS America examines 30 years of artistic production made in response to the AIDS epidemic in the United States. Chronologically exploring art made since the 1980s to the present day, the works show the angrily political, the private grieving and the personal explorations of diagnosis. Besides from the immediate information that the exhibition offers, it will also examine how themes of politics, class and autobiography came into play more strongly within art as a side effect of this catastrophe.

This new exhibition, which opens this evening at the ONE Gallery and the West Hollywood Library is a part of One City One Pride, and it will be presented in two parts. This iteration of the exhibition comprises a select preview of the larger show opening at the Tacoma Art Museum in October 2015.

The exhibition opens to the public tomorrow and will carry on until September the 6th 2015.

Presented in two parts at the ONE Archives Gallery & Museum and the West Hollywood Library:

ONE Archives Gallery & Museum
626 North Robertson Boulevard
West Hollywood, CA 90069 West Hollywood Library
625 North San Vicente Boulevard
West Hollywood, CA 90069


The noise art of ryan jordan

screams of white noise automatically reloading the onslaught continues as possession trance is manifest. Believe you are possessed by a god or deity. Something other has entered you, nonhuman. It is the nonhuman we are now in communication with.

Noise artists and contemporary experiments in audiovisual performance offer us a means to communicate with the nonhuman, entering a world of hypnosis or ‘possession trance’. Audiovisual catharsis is achieved via light shows and noise, exploring what can be created with DIY electronics, technology, physical performance and strobe lighting.

Ryan Jordan ( – his website will greet you with a blinding strobe, intense even in this screen-bound format) is a UK based artist working with such materials and concepts. I will admit now that I have never seen Ryan perform, so I cannot speak about his work from experience. However watching footage of his noise art performances gives us some idea of his work, albeit incredibly diluted – darkened rooms, black except for bursts of bright white strobes, flashing on and off with the piercing noise:

Live Ryan Jordan set @ Noise Corruption II London, on 07/09/2013

Noise art can be made in many ways, however Jordan specifically uses the direct amplification of electrical signals given off by objects and materials such as processed metals, derelict technology (old computers, microwaves etc), earth, rocks, and more. Wires are connected to these objects and materials, hooked up to speakers, and when an electric current is sent through them, noise bursts from the speakers. Other noise artists such as Merzbow (the name inspired by the  dada artist Kurt Schwitter’s work Merzbau, meaning ‘art made from rubbish’) have explored numerous other composition processes, such as amplifying very quiet sounds to extreme volumes so as to distort them, etc.

Almost uniformly, [...]

Medieval Torture

‘Wild animals never kill for sport. Man is the only who finds the torture and death of his fellow creatures amusing in itself’’

– James Anthony Froude

The Medieval torture devices that were created and  frequently used are incredible in both their brutality and aesthetic, here are a few of the most inventive ones.

The Mask of Infamy
The mask of infamy brings about two different inflictions: a spiritual one and a physical one, the victims were both staked out to public ridicule and at the same time physically tortured. The masks sometimes had inner devices, such as a ball, which were forced into the victims nose or into the mouth, thus preventing him or her from wailing or shrieking. The masks with long ears represented a silly ass person, while the one with a snout or with a pig face symbolizes the animal, the human being considered dirty.


The Pear
Its name came from its shape. This instrument that had a screw mechanism by which it progressively expanded to the maximum aperture of the two or three elements it was made of. The instrument was forced into the rectum of male victims and into the vagina of female victims. The oral, rectal or vaginal pear was inflicted on people guilty of sodomy, on women guilty of adultery, people guilty of incest or sexual union with Satan, and it was also inflicted on heretical preachers and blasphemers. The torture itself was meant to inflict the punishment of the crime one had been charged with.

Witch Hunts
The world was a much tougher and yet mystical place. Mystical in the sense that religion, magic, witches and curses were true fears and beliefs and governed law, crime and punishment. There are so many incredible woodcuts depicting torture as [...]