BAD GIRLS FEATURE
RACHEL EVANS: All Things llice (photo by lewls Mulatero), and below, DOROTHY CROSS: A cow‘s udder hanging below a silver dish cover. ‘One Italian man went up and kissed the teat.’
‘I’m sick of hearing triarc, I, I
I mean what are people talking about? Is it 30 All and are we ruled by a council of men with long beards?’
- Penny Arcade
their supposed need for romantic love.
‘The reaction I've had has been either horror or delight.‘ says artist Dorothy Cross. luxtaposing objects with utilitarian or personal signiﬁcance. she creates assemblages which either conflict or conﬁrm. Cow‘s udders hang below silver dish covers; a Fresian cow skin is draped over a dummy wearing a wedding veil. the udder over the head like a headdress. ‘One Italian man went up and kissed the teat and some women have asked if I had considered women who’ve had masectomies.‘ she says. ‘But it‘s a cow we‘re talking about. not a woman. Some may say I’m weird or disgusting but hopefully it makes them see that they are identiﬁng themselves or the opposite sex as cows.
The diversity of approach wouldn’t have been possible. points out Nicola White. without the ﬁrst wave of women’s art and feminist art in the late 70s and 80s. ‘Then there was more of a mission to educate and explain and try to change things.’ she says. ‘What’s different about the Bad Girls season is that I think the
ambitions are less. You may not be able to “
Mark Fisher talks to Annie Sprinkle about her transition from sex worker to conceptual artist.
or the average nude model. the number of post-porn career options is limited. Even at the top of the topless ladder. Samantha Fox is a lot less convincing as the pop star she reinvented herself as than as the page-three ‘stunner’ she started out. Prejudice plays its part - the bimbo image sticks — but even taking that into account. the career-path of American porn star and ex-prostitute. Annie Sprinkle. veers on the improbable. Where once a glossy centre—fold would have been the peak of Sprinkle's professional ambition. she is now discussed in austere academic theatre journals under titles such as ‘Distance and Empathy: Constructing the Spectator of Annie Sprinkle‘s Pust-I’().S"l' PORN M()I)I:‘RNIS'I".
So how. after seventeen years in the business. do you make the switch from sleaze queen to darling of the performance art world'.’ ‘It had to do with gathering the skills in porn and being able to use those skills in art.’ she says. as if it was the most natural thing in the world. ‘Even when I was in porn I was interested in performance and I tried to express myself as well as I could. As I grew older. my aesthetic changed and I also had the opportunity to do it because a friend of mine opened a theatre. so I had a chance to have a different kind of audience.’
Sprinkle’s show. which she has performed throughout the States. in Germany and in Holland. draws on her experiences in the sex industry. taking us on a search for the ultimate sexual experience. She is most keen that her audiences bring along cameras so that at a speciﬁed point in the performance they can take intimate snaps of her cervix. That's after she‘s performed a ‘bosom ballet‘. urinated on stage and calculated the combined length of all the penises she has ever
‘My job is to talk about ecstasy,
love, joy and orgasm.’
sucked. ‘Cameras add a certain level of excitement and creativity.‘ says Sprinkle. nee shy. insecure Ellen Steinberg. ‘l’m a photographer and I always like being able to take pictures and I think people get interesting photographs. so it’s not really about being voyeurs per se, it’s about being creative.’
If this sounds desperately un-PC - and the show has certainly split feminists — Sprinkle explains that it is women rather than men that she is aiming at. ‘My best audiences are women — and women who are sexually experienced. This is not pornography. I make pornography. so I know the difference. This is more art: physical. intellectual. feministic. more conceptual. more theatrical. It’s about AIDS. it’s about spiritual aspects of sex. about my childhood, it‘s about a lot of things.’
Regarding herself as a teacher more than an actor — she leads classes and workshops worldwide — Sprinkle commonly ends up as a shoulder to cry on. ‘Everywhere I go. people pour their hearts out. I’m very interested in how some people are enjoying or not enjoying their sexuality; it’s a very interesting subject — I never get tired of talking about it.’ Having created the show as a form of therapy. she ﬁnds, in passages such as her list of her 100 worst sexual experiences. that many people in the audience ﬁnd it therapeutic as well. By deconstructing pornography and prostitution, she aims to liberate sexual expression and demystify the female body: ‘My job is to talk about ecstasy. love. joy and orgasm.’
And all of this. she assures me, is done with no small amount of humour. ‘There’s humour in it because I’m pretty funny and people are funny and sex is funny and it does help the medicine go down.‘ 1.]
Post-POST PORN MODERN/$7: CCA. Thurs I 0—80! 12 Mar.
The List 28 January—l0 February I994 19’