In 2001 when Facts of Life: Contemporary Japanese Art was on at the Hayward Gallery, a female visitor to the show walked into a room in which Tadasu Takamine’s Inertia was being shown only to discover a man jerking off to the projection. The woman left and complained to the gallery, but by the time security got there the man had disappeared. The work was recently re-shown at the Icon Gallery in Birmingham, I don’t know if anyone was caught wanking off to the piece there, but the description of it on the Icon website illustrates you’d have to be seriously sad to do so: “Inertia (1998) involves the uneasy combination of a young woman and a bullet train. She is shown close-up and feet first on top of a carriage while the rest of the world flashes past. A powerful electric hum dramatises her fruitless attempts to push her dress down over her legs against the force of the wind; the situation is intensely sexual, unstoppable and exhilarating, clearly drawn from classic fetishism and nightmare scenarios.” You’d have to be really unimaginative to jerk off over something as clichéd as that – and especially in a public place! So in the interests of public education, I bring you 10 art works you must jerk off over before you die!
1. The One & The Many by Stewart Home. 72 copies of Home’s novel Down & Out In Shoreditch & Hoxton factory wrapped in three packets and arranged as a sculpture. The work is for sale at $480 and has an immediate retail value of $720 since the books sell at $10 each. Anyone buying the work needs to choose between breaking up the sculpture and realising an immediate profit by selling the books at their retail price, or keeping it as it is and speculating on it greatly rising in value thanks to its aesthetic merits. On show at White Columns in New York until 19 November. This one would be perfect for a circle jerk. Arrangements might be made with the artist for a special viewing and wanking session out of normal gallery hours – so that the general public can enjoy the work in peace.
2. Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci. A half length portrait famous thanks to the sitter’s smile. It has been widely rumoured that the model is in fact Leonardo da Vinci in drag, so this one is perfect as a fetish object for all you gender benders out there. Forget about the original, jerk off over a reproduction.
3. Art Strike Bed by Stewart Home. After Home went on art strike between 1990-1993, the first thing he showed in a gallery for his comeback was a bed – which acted as a symbol of his lack of activity during the art strike. He didn’t show the bed he slept on during the art strike, and he’s shown various different beds as ‘the’ Art Strike Bed, since he wants the work to be radically inauthentic. Since you’ve no doubt jerked off on a bed innumerable times, why not wank off over this one! On show right now at White Columns in Manhattan. Arrangements might be made with the artist for a special viewing and wanking session out of normal gallery hours.
4. Broadway Boogie Woogie by Piet Mondrian. Mainstream pornography dulls the brain with literal images. Radical pornography is abstract and requires the stimulus of a healthy imagination in order for you to get off on it. This famous abstract by Mondrian is a perfect example of that. Forget about the original, jerk off over a reproduction for that extra ersatz/seminal experience.
5. Becoming (M)other by Stewart Home & Chris Dorley-Brown. In 2004 Home took his mother’s 1966 modelling portfolio and reposed the pictures with photographer Chris Dorley-Brown. The two sets of images – of Home’s mother (Julia Callan-Thompson aged 22 in her photos) and her son (Stewart Home aged 42 in his photos) – were then morphed together to create an inter-generational & cross-gender composite. Like the Mona Lisa, this is another work that will appeal to gender benders of all ages, as well as the bi-curious. Currently on show at White Columns in New York. Arrangements might be made with the artist for a special viewing and wanking session out of normal gallery hours.
6. White On White by Kazimir Malevich. White stains could only add to the appeal of this classic work of Suprematist abstraction! Judging by the immediate critical reception, Malevich was already wanking in the wind when he made this painting! Forget about the original, use a reproduction to jerk off over. But if you wanna see a really dirty art work use Black On Black by the same artist, which you’ll totally ruin by adding white!
7. Heroin Is The Opiate Of The People by Stewart Home. Wall drawing of a man injecting himself with skag. The image ain’t attractive so getting off over this one will prove you’re a hardcore pervert! On show at White Columns in Manhattan until 19 November. Arrangements might be made with the artist for a special viewing and wanking session out of normal gallery hours.
8. After Walker Evans by Sherrie Levine. Levine re-shot well known Walker Evans photographs from an exhibition catalogue and presented them as her own artwork with no manipulation of the images. The Evans photographs are considered by some to be a quintessential record of the rural American poor during the great depression. The Walker Evans estate saw these works by Levine as an infringement of their copyrights, and acquired them to forestall their circulation. You don’t need Levine re-makes to jerk off over these pieces, just get a decent Walker Evans catalogue and pretend Sherrie has re-done the work for you!
9. Prostitution II by Stewart Home. In the 1970s Cosey Fanni Tutti worked as a model for pornographic magazines and announced that her sex images were performance art. In 1996 – a few years before the current revival of interest in Tutti – Home re-shot a series of her magazine spreads onto Polaroid not merely as an act of appropriation, but also to counteract the fallacious arguments of various self-styled art critics who claimed that in the 1970s British women artists adhered to ‘feminist propriety’. On show at White Columns in New York right now. Arrangements might be made with the artist for a special viewing and wanking session out of normal gallery hours.
10. Samo Is Dead by Jean-Michel Basquiat. Graffiti announcing the end of the Samo Project was painted on walls in Soho, Manhattan, in 1979. You don’t need to find traces of the original graffiti, a photograph of it will do for a wank!
Needless to say there is far more in my White Columns show Again A Time Machine: A Stewart Home Retrospective than the five works described here – and it’s all worth jerking off over. The show is on until 19 November – make sure you catch it! White Columns, 320 West 13th Street (enter on Horatio Street, between Hudson and 8th Avenue), New York, NY 10014, USA.
And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – www.stewarthomesociety.org – you know it makes (no) sense!