"The Left Hand of Darkness"
Thu Aug 7 2008
Photograph: Courtesy of The Project
Time Out Ratings :<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5
While feminist science-fiction queen Ursula K. Le Guin achieved cult status in 1969 for inventing an alien hermaphroditic race in The Left Hand of Darkness, sexual dimorphism has yet to gain the same level of popularity on planet Earth. Perhaps that’s why curators Sarvia Jasso and Yasmine Dubois chose Le Guin’s text as the springboard for a group show on sexual identity.
In the artists’ biographies, truth is more fascinating—and often more perilous—than Le Guin’s fiction. Siberian-born Slava Mogutin sought political asylum in the U.S. after his queer writings led to criminal prosecution in Russia. His photograph Mattress Scene displays a rough ’n’ kinky group interlude that may not be entirely consensual. Another agitator, Tara Mateik, founded a Society of Biological Insurgents (SBI), whose goal is “to overthrow institutions of compulsory gender.” His Case 133 presents an audio recording of material from Psychopathia Sexualis, the 19th-century survey of perversions: the account of a man who called himself Countess V and donned breasts made out of bread rolls.
Matt Greene’s equally fetishistic The White Shoes fuses monochromatic abstraction with stiletto heels; Paul Kopkau’s The Vulgar Minimalist blends Yves Klein’s blue-drenched, nude female spectacle with the more masculine American art movement of his title; and Tobaron Waxman’s Peytach Eynayim updates Chagall’s crucifixions with homoerotic iconography. While usual suspects Tracey Rose, Sarah Lucas and Ryan Trecartin are also included, it’s the younger soldiers of sexual liberation who bring fresh energy to the battle.