Monday, November 30, 2009

GENDER BENDERS

Browsing "Art Exhibits" while I was writing about art --
BOING!
I saw this picture.

A headline --

I AM MY OWN WIFE


An interview by Erica Ogden --
"As a new generation discovers artist Genesis P-Orridge, he fulfills a quixotic long-term project: turning himself into his late spouse. P-Orridge (he pronounces the initial letter, as in pee-orridge) started out as ...

I skimmed ahead ... the man was an actor, a maker of collages, an icon of the London avant-garde in 1976, when he did an exhibit called “Prostitution” aimed to inflame the art world -- pornographic photos, sculptures made of used tampons, transvestite security guards.

The critic describes him: "...what I see, when he sits down on his bed, is that his potbelly props up his C-cup breasts ... strands of his platinum bob ... lips slicked pink with gloss ... looks like a funhouse version of Courtney Love ... he has refashioned himself to look uncannily like his late wife, the woman with whom he has come to share an identity, a profile, even beauty marks."

P-Orridge describes his marriage to Jacqueline Breyer, a tall blond who had dabbled in dominatrix work, who was enthralled with him, referring to him -- an occultist with 13 penis piercings—as Bunny. "... as she and I became more and more obsessively in love, we had that whole feeling of ‘I wish I could eat you up. I wish I could just take you, and I become you and you become me.’ ”

He explains they did it -- with an East Side plastic surgeon -- had breast implants, then eye and nose jobs. In subsequent years they received $200,000 worth of chin implants, lip plumping, liposuction, tattooed beauty marks, and hormones. And dressed in identical outfits. And each mimicked the other's mannerisms.

When Breyer died at 38, of stomach cancer, he went on with the project. Summing it up, P-Orridge says, "We're artists. Artists do art. It's not rational."

Here's her/him holding a picture of himself as a boy.

I looked at his collages -- mud, garbage that looks like vomit, sex organs superimposed on other body parts -- ugly, grotesque arrangements designed to shock, to arouse you the way pornography can arouse you and make you red-faced, embarrassed. You can have a look-- just Google his/her name.

I'd seen the ABC news show on Chastity Bono.
P-Orridge and Chaz/Chastity are worlds apart, yet connected.

The news about Chastity being a lesbian caused minor headlines a few years ago, along with words about her pursuing a sex change.

But we had Dick Cheney's gay daughter, along with old and new scandals -- Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse, the lies that got us into war with Iraq, the Valerie Plame story that kept flaring up -- and we were already involved with who was going to be out next president.

I complain about the media seducing us, with ads, and over-promotion of scandals, but my head jerks around when I hear a name. The pictures on the TV of the puffy mannish Chastity/Chaz immediately evoked Cher.

... Cher with her young boyfriends, her pubic-hair-revealing costumes -- daring, dazzling, chameleon -- waist length black-haired, platinum-blond, scarlet-red curls -- capable of lullabies and slutty, come-on crooning -- going for what she's in the mood to go for, fearlessly.

Yes, I'm a Cher fan. And Chaz -- the struggles he/she will be having ... well, what interests me is Cher -- how she feels about it.

I figure Cher's glad her child is grown up now, and can make her own decisions. I figure Cher said exactly what a Mother needs to say -- "Go for it!"

If the "it" -- the child's objective isn't what Mom would recommend, MOM LOVE trumps fear, and pushes away practicalities. So we'll watch from afar, as Cher's re-inventing another fascinating new self, while we read. about Chaz's doctor creating a penis for him.

And probably read and hear more about P-Orridge getting his fifteen minutes of fame.

Why , why do I bother focusing on Chaz/Chastity, or Him/Her P-Orridge?

It seems ... so ....
wrong?
wasteful?
dumb?
Is it recreation?
Am I learning something new?

I don't know. But now, more than ever, with all the scary bad news in the air every day-- sex change news, is absorbing, interesting, distracting.

1 comment:

Carola said...

I have always been a big fan of Cher. My heart goes out to both to her and to Chaz. I support Chaz in what he's done; but from what I hear, it was a struggle for Cher.

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