submitted two websites of my work to the Queer Arts Resource Website
for consideration, asking if they would want to include them on their
links page. I got a nice e-mail back saying that they would be happy
to include my site "Advertisers Anonymous", but that this
site "Auto-fellatio Kingdom" was "a bit more problematic.
Where is the dividing line between art and porn?"
Here are the arguments
that I can think of for my videos not being Art, and my thoughts
on those arguments:
These videos are not art because:
1). They are sexually explicit.
I wonder how many artists
there are who don't produce some erotica, whether it is shown,
hidden away, or destroyed? Maybe there's some internationally recognized
mathematical formula whereby an artist's work ceases to be Art if
a certain percentage of it is erotic in nature? Did I miss the class
where they talked about this because I dropped out of art school?
2). They are videos. What
year is this?
3). I use elements of the porno-vernacular
in my productions and promotions. Again,
what year is this? Readymades, Pop Art, Lynda Benglis, Betty Dodson,
Andy Warhol, Carolee Schneeman, Jeff Koons, Heilman-C, Attila Richard
Lukacs, Gilbert & George....
The use of the vernacular,
and the porno-vernacular, is a venerable tradition in contemporary
4). Real Artists aren't motivated
by the desire to make money. Hah.
Hah, hah! Hah ,hah, hah, hah!
5). I (Al), am not an artist.
Please see the answer
to question #3.
6). The videos don't fit easily
into any generally recognized Fine Art category. Big
Can You think of other
reasons why my videos are (or aren't) Art? Drop me an e-mail and
I'll include them here. Write
Here's my take on your 'cinema verite' tape, Selfsufficient.
It's absolutly wonderful! My dick got hard during the first
episode and started dribbling during the second and I really
enjoyed playing with it during the third. Finally I let her
rip along with you during that intense deep throating at the
end of the fourth. I love your cock but I like your tongue
even better! It snakes out of your mouth devouring everything
it can reach!
The epiphany for me was when your mouth, cock and nipple met
all at the same time and place in some kind of higher dimmensional
space! Your tapes are the result of the kind of exploring
that any healthy, normal, male, child would do and of course
it's very erotic for us to watch the fruits of your labor.
There's so much maleness here, you really put the homo back
in man sex. I love the fact your tapes aren't gay but genuine
documentations of male sexuality. I'm so tired of 'gay' right
now. Back in the late 60's when you were probably in diapers
I was pioneering the gay lifestyle in the West Village so
I have something to compare it with. There's no fake here.
You have some of that same fearlessness, letting the chips
fall where they may. And look what honesty produces, Art!
I know you're probably somewhat of a showoff, but hey, someone
has to do it! We can't all be a child of Eros! and double
jointed, and long dicked, and talented tongued! LOL !!! (I
bet oral sex with you is fantastic!) And think of the legions
of guys you have turned on, ie mansturbated to your shannigans,
isn't this tape something like 11 or 12 years old now! Wow,
what a river of astral cum that must be! Your contribution
to the Sexual Revolution! Isn't that what Art does, turn people
on? We need your sensuality right now to counterbalance the
Republican/Christian/Fundamentalist anti-life doctrines of
I've started a collection of "amateur" tapes, real
people doing real things, and this one will be the crown jewel
in my collection. So it's not porn even if I have to jack
off to it everytime I see it! It's just 'intimate' Art that
gets us thru the lean times! Thank you for bringing me in
touch with my 'inner' boy once again. David
|It is art--for as you
stated, "Lifeas art." I would go further andsay, indeed,
"life is art" and,conversely, "art is life."
But any art produced in a capitalist culture is suspect and
its raw intensity diminished. That's why I pray for day (literally!)
whencapital and property relations will be overthrown, thus
allowing all people to be powerful artists.
|While I agree with your arguments, I think
that your productions probably are more porn than art. Now,
that's a rather fine line, if it is a line at all. Because athing
is pornographic, does that make it NOT art? Consider Michelangelo's
David. Definitely art, no question. But, think about it, a 19
year old, with a body byGilad and over-sized hands, carved by
someone who knew what he liked in young men. That couldn't be
more sexually stimulating if it were made with a big faterection
(actually, the impression of innocence in the nude makes it
even more erotic).
Ultimately, art is expression. Of course, this begs the question,
What can you possibly hope to say by blowing yourself? It wasn't
until I studied the words ofBruce Lee (that karate is a form
of expression), that I realized the meaninglessness of that
question (What can you possibly hope to say by kicking someone's
ass?). Consider the poet. Big deal, another love poem; so what's
the expression, how much he's smitten with some broad? No, but
here are some clues: somany syllables per line, every other
line rhymes, ... the mere fact that it's a love poem. When all
of the facade and pretense are removed, all that anyone can
hopeto express is one's self, to be free of inhibition and containment,
and say to the universe, Behold the infinite and inimitable
me. Somehow, you are able to express yourself by ejaculating
in your mouth on video.
But, is it art? By my own analysis, I guess it is. What dissuades
your material from 'legitimate' consideration, is that it is
not tasteful to the (sexually stifled American) public. Certainly
one can take a dump on a section of newspaper, and sell it to
a museum, but it's not anything people really care to see. I
have never subscribed to the idea that since it is real, it's
OK to saturate network media with it. NYPD Blue may be artistic
in its display of TV profanity, brief nudity and realistic killing,
but it's exactly that kind of shit I'm trying to escape when
I turn to the arts. Can you honestly expect public schools to
teach art by showing tapes of autofellatio?
Maybe what pisses me off about the whole thing, is that I can't
do it myself.
Tynan was on some TV show (David Frost?) when I was a young teenager,
defending "Oh! Calcutta!", and he said, essentially, that
something can be Art, and also give men erections, and that he thought
that erections were a good thing, to be encouraged. What a great thing
to hear at that point in my life, when I was trying to figure out
what to think about, and what to feel about, and what to do with my
frequently hard cock!
High School I was an Art kid: loved Art class, spent my free periods
in the art room, stayed after school to make art, and then went
home (or out into the woods, or stayed in the art room) and used
that same passionate, creative impulse to explore my body. At 14
I was learning how to throw on the pottery wheel, how to work with
oil paints, and how to position my body so that I could get my balls
into my mouth. My Father is an artist, and as a teenager I read
his art magazines and absorbed some of the boundary dissolving ideas
and impulses of conceptualism, body art, performance art, Fluxus...Dad
often took me to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, with it's amazing
Duchamp collection, and I saw the first readymades; art which declares
that the only essential quality of art is in the intent of the artist.
I dropped out of art school. The
Art World that I saw was just a rarified version of the fucked-up,
brutal, decaying, celebrity-obsessed, dominant culture, and I wanted
no part of it. Well, actually, part of me wanted no part of it,
and another part of me wanted to dive right in and be rich and famous
and "successful"; but the Anarchist won out: I dropped
out, and stopped making Fine Art for consumption by the privileged
But I never stopped sucking my
cock. I never stopped applying my creative energy to the life-long
project of exploring my body-mind and testing my limits. I followed
my passions and used my creative energy to create experiences for
myself and for others. Where was the line, what was the distinction,
between documenting a performance or an installation, and documenting
my private performing and installing? When I realised that other
people were fascinated by my talent for auto-fellatio, and would
pay to see it, I started making my self-suck videos.
People would pay to see it. I
was motivated, in part, by a desire to to make money. Is that the
thing that sets my self-suck videos apart from "art"?
Are Real Artists never influenced by financial concerns? I approach
my video projects in exactly the same way that I approach any other
artwork that I create: my intent is to create something that communicates
with the the viewer in a way that pleases and satisfies me. If I
can make a living doing that, so much the better.
One of the unexpected side-effects
of making my self-suck videos was a mostly subconscious reevaluation
of my relationship to the Art World. I never doubted that what I
was doing was just as much "art" as any sculpture or painting
that I (or anyone else) might make. I realised that I was creating
a commodity, a luxury item that was not essential to anyone's existence.
If I was OK with that, why shouldn't I go back into the Art World
that I had turned my back on so many years ago?
In art school, a friend told me
a little bit about Balinese culture; the quote I remember was something
along the lines of "We have no Artists here, everyone does
things as well and as beautifully as they can". Life as Art.
I wanted to help to break down the categories that stifled people's
creativity, to be one of the wooden shoes thrown into the works
of the Trans-national Mega-machine. I still want that, but I've
become more tolerant of conditionality with age: I'm an Artist who
doesn't believe in Art, a Man who doesn't believe in the binary
gender system, an Anti-capitalist Businessman.
When I make a video I hope that
it will be visually pleasing to viewers, and that it will excite
them sexually. The esthetic that informs my videos is really no
different from the one that informs the other art that I produce.