Where the Sun Don’t Shine; or, On Assholes

(Permitting Shame, Error, and Guilt, Myself the Single Source)

A talk given by Jesse Aron Green at LACMA, May 9, 2016

There is a tired joke that goes like this. Point at the picture of Mapplethorpe with a whip in his anus (or at the peek of taint in Courbet's Origin of the World, or the knotted sphincter of a Koons Balloon Dog) and say: "The art world is full of assholes."

On May 9, Jesse Aron Green will use the images and objects on view in The Perfect Medium to address some of the less-seemly aspects of Robert Mapplethorpe's life and artistic practice. Green will discuss how the interpenetrating influences of modernist form and sexual function on display in Mapplethorpe's work illustrate that the artist was, according to Green, "an asshole," and how this relates to larger questions about the ethics of representation, the legacies of queer portraiture, and the problems and pleasures of making artwork that involves other people, their bodies, and their feelings.