Two Guys United by Devotion to Porn

Wow you know what? Screw you Wallace Berman and Richard Prince and screw you New York Times.
The headline reads Two Artists United by Devotion to Women, but it should read “Two Run of the Mill Assholes Collect Vintage Porn, Exploit Women’s Images”. Berman apparently is a “Beat guru”, while Prince is running an art show called “She”. Do they support women and women artists? NO… hahahah of course not!
“The exhibition focuses on a common subject where the two artists overlap in odd and unexpected ways: women.”
Get that? Women are the SUBJECT.
Also, apparently it’s news that dickwad artists, whether they are dead Beats or poncey rich New Yorkers, are obsessed with “images of half-clothed women taken from pulp fiction, biker magazines…”
Buried in the article, I thank the article’s author for this:

he is asked whether he has any female friends. He says no. Asked when he thinks a girl becomes a woman, he says it is when she starts baby-sitting.

So, number one, this guy is a jerk. Number two, why is this article news at all? Seriously, “Dumb Guy Glorifies Trashy Porn” is the headline. Glorifies and legitimizes AND makes a career exploiting it. HOW VERY TRANSGRESSIVE! Number three, why is the headline and the framing of the article all about how these are men who are “devoted to women”?
This is really offensive to women in the arts.


4 Responses to “Two Guys United by Devotion to Porn”

  1. Foxessa



    So appropriate for an ‘artist’ whose mode is ‘appropriation.’
    What makes it even more weird is that Prince is so veddy veddy gay. Unless he’s appropriating that as well. That ilk in the art world, in my experience, don’t put anything past them in order to get over.
    We were at his Guggenheim retrospective banquet-reception last year, coz my partner wrote “Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly Fond of Each Other,” and was interviewed for the catalog.
    We drank lots of very expensive champagne and ate very expensive food. But we did not, um, belong.
    I cannot think of an art ‘movement’ that I more loathe than Appropriation.
    Love, C.

  2. suzanne



    I know this is an old post…but…
    The article (and the show) seem weirdly reductive and mis-understanding of Wallace Berman’s work. I went to a panel discussion a few years ago when the book and show “Semina Culture” came out, and one of the panelists was the awesome earth mother poet Diane diPrima…it was seriously one of the most inspiring discussions about art and community that I’d ever heard. Their scene actually sounded a whole lot less misogynistic than a lot of what was going on at the time. It made me wish I could go back in time to hang out in Wallace and Shirley Berman’s cabin. The part of DiPrima’s autobiography where she talks about going there to help them dismatle their yard sculptures, because they’d been declared a “public nuisance”, is really funny.
    There was a large number of women artists and poets involved in the Bermans’ Topanga Canyon hippie scene…and when Wallace Berman got arrested for obscenity, it wasn’t for his own work, it was for displaying a drawing by this woman in his gallery:
    http://cameron-parsons.org/cameron.html (read that bio, she was a freaking AMAZING character.)
    plus he started Semina, which was basically the first zine ever. Tons o’women artists and writers were in it: Jay DeFeo, Joan Brown, Aya, Cameron, Diane diPrima, etc etc.
    Sorry, that just hit a nerve…Wallace Berman may have been a lot of things, he may have even been kind of an asshole, I don’t know. But since he’s been dead since the 70’s, I don’t hold him responsible for the dumb theme of this gallery show or the crappy NYT article.
    And that Richard Prince dude sounds like a jerk.

  3. badgerbag



    Oh, I really like knowing this! I love Di Prima and your list of women artists makes my day, I’m going to look them all up!

  4. suzanne



    YAY! Yes look them up, and I think your opinion will be much improved from the “some woman-objectifying dead dude” state. Cameron Parsons, for one, deserves a full re-discovering. Berman has a place in history because of who he brought together and the work he encouraged, rather than his own stuff necessarily.
    Rebecca Solnit was also on the panel I saw, and part of the discussion was about the benefits of “being at the edge rather than the center”, ie living in the canyon with your friends/partners/kids, making art that you give away for free, instead of moving to manhattan and trying to get in museums. Berman refused to participate in any more gallery shows after his arrest, and as Diane diPrima said, “you couldn’t buy a copy of Semina for love or money”–you either just got one in the mail, or you didn’t, but it wasn’t for sale.
    OH and: in addition to arguably inventing the zine and/or mail art, Berman was one of the first to use photocopying as an artistic medium.

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