NEW YORK CITY—"Consent," a new exhibit that "aims to close the gap between what we think about porn and what we say" opens March 21st at apexart in Tribeca in New York City. Curated by adult writer and critic Lynsey G, the exhibit features clips from Vivid Entertainment's Rough Sex 1-3 and other adult movies. "Consent" opens with a reception at the gallery from 6-8 pm and will run through May 12th.
Adult stars in the Vivid clips include Sasha Grey, April Flores, Sinnamon Love, Adrianna Nicole, Madison Young, Brittney Andrews, Danny Wylde, Evan Stone Tyler Knight and Mr. Marcus.
In establishing the premise of the exhibit, "Consent" asks its viewers a basic question: "Have you ever opened up to anyone about your private relationship with pornography? Despite the common knowledge that the use of porn, particularly online, is nearly ubiquitous—according to 2010 statistics compiled by OnlineMBA.com, 25 percent of search engine requests are for porn and over 28,000 people are looking at online porn at any given second—few of us think or talk about it honestly."
"Consent" also includes excerpts from three Vivid movies: Sex Drive, starring the black porn star Mr. Marcus; Night Nurses, a classic feature that explores what really goes on during the high shift at a busy hospital and Chemistry 4. The clips are played silently over interviews Lynsey G has with porn actors and producers as well as consumers of pornography.
The exhibit explores such topics as porn's relationship to body image, sexual behavior, addiction, performer and consumer consent, piracy, sex as performance, and personal and private identity.
"Consent" asks viewers to acknowledge that "by entering this exhibit, I consent to viewing and considering its content, thereby releasing the creators from all liability which may arise should I find myself unexpectedly offended, aroused, or embarrassed."
"When apexart approached me about curating an art show on the topic of pornography, it struck me that porn is a difficult thing around which to structure an intelligent dialogue, especially from an art standpoint. Not because art and porn have nothing in common, but because they have so much in common," Lynsey G wrote regarding the exhibit. "[P]orn skips our systems of reason, but rather than lodging in our viscera and moving up to our brains, porn settles—hot and heavy—in our crotches. Adult entertainment takes advantage of our evolutionary inability to tell the difference between real sex and sexual imagery, and dives into our groins, demanding we take action. In this way, porn is utilitarian, and because we are taught not to speak openly of the utility to which we put it, pornography can hit our naughty bits without doing much else...
"So pornography goes undiscussed, unlike its cousin art," she c ontinued. "Most of us don't want to discuss it, much less see a need for discussion. We just feel it (and ourselves), neglecting to open it up to dialogue, analysis, criticism… the things that give the 'high arts' their cultural oomph. This lack of dialogue allows the space where conversation could take place to instead remain vacant, echoing with the hysterical cries of pro- and anti-porn zealots who take advantage of the lack of critical context to promote their antithetical messages, though most of us know that the truth is somewhere between black and white. Porn is a huge grey area, a murky patch of swamp that's easier to enjoy when left alone. So most of us keep quiet about what we really think, if we think at all, shrugging, 'Who cares? It's just porn.'"
Describing herself as an "advocate for pornography," Lynsey understands that even porn fans often lack the introspection that would help them understand their desires, not to mention the relationship of porn both to our everyday activities and our subconscious cultural memes.
"Though the media informs us that adult entertainment is 'mainstream' and that our culture is becoming 'pornified,' the topic of personal relationships to porn is still taboo," she noted. "The space that yawns between what we do and what we say is so empty and quiet that other spaces have opened around it. There is the space between what consumers think about porn stars and what porn stars are really like, the expanse between pornographic sex and private sex, the distance between porn bodies and 'real' bodies, the divide between what we think of as the 'typical' porn user (indubitably male, balding, overweight) and a real porn user (you, your family, your coworkers), the long corridor we imagine stretching between performers and consumers. All of these spaces are virtually empty of honest discussion. They are dark, and, as dark places often are, they are scary... 'Consent' is my attempt to turn up the lights in the space I occupy by documenting and presenting what the world looks like from my point of view."
Lynsey G, a native New Yorker, said she "splits her smutty scribblings between DVD reviews, set copy, sex toy reviews, performer interviews, 'sexpert' advice, analysis and criticism." She is also editor-in-chief of WHACK! Magazine.