Sasha Grey, Neu Sex book signing at Martha Otero 5 May 2011
It’s difficult to imagine a more appropriate or intimate setting for this signing:
Correct neighborhood, residential scale, eye level hedges, serious door man…
Inside, three, smallish white rooms, share a continuous gabled ceiling,
a small crooked line of interested humans, wait for autographed books from the artist, Sasha Grey.
I glance around the room, but the cueing takes precedence, I get in line.
Peripheral vision and hearing realizes it is her
or something like her, in a black full-length dress.
I’m having difficulty focusing due to the heat and humidity, compounded by the gallery lights. It’s 90 degrees F. in West Hollywood today.
Then I actually look at her.
Until now she has been a series of virtual images. So it is a bit odd to compare both printed photos with a live human, without really getting a good look at either.
But this is a book signing. I wait my turn.
Nearer the table I blurt: “Do you take plastic? Checks?”
Agent: “No, cash only.”
DC: “How much are the books?”
DC: (to guard) “Is there an ATM nearby?”
Guard: “I don’t know, around the corner, at the gas station, down Melrose, there’s a (bank name) across the street”
(I leave for 15 minutes then return)
DC: “I would like to buy one book, please.”
Agent: (takes cash, slides book to SG)
SG: “Hello, what is your name?”
DC: “Hello…David…I am envious of your book.”
SG: “Oh, (writing) I think I messed up your name.”
DC: “That’s OK, I need a new name anyway.”
DC: “Are you happy with how the book turned out? (I haven’t seen it yet)”
DC: “Is this wall (painted wall behind SG) part of the show?”
SG: “Yes, it’s by the artist James Jean”
SG: “Jean, he did the paintings of me in the other room.”
DC: “Are you still looking to hire a photo assistant?”
DC: “I’m from LV, I’m sharing some space in Holsum with some people,
an architect, an art director and some artists/representatives.
Las Vegas has about 25% vacancy now in commercial so there are some deals.
(DC hands SG a card)
Well, thank you. Congratulations on the show.”
SG: “Thank you.”
(dead link to Martha Otero website)
I should perhaps discuss the actual work being shown at some point.
The photographs are self-described obsessive documentation of the artist during her porn mode.
She documents behind the scenes intimate moments existing separate from the scenes viewers are likely to consume in the porn films…cleaning up what looks to be vomit off the floor… a funny face in between shots.
In her book she observes that “men are incredibly insecure when it comes to their sexuality”.
There is a central piece on the main gallery wall, milky white with grayish impressionist solo figure.
I keep revisiting it for some reason.
To the left, a multi-colored work with a carnival theme insists repeated views.
I’m glad to see the works on walls but perhaps happier they exist now in a book to be revisited, and to have visual confirmation that the artist is flesh and blood.
David Curtis, 5 May 2011