Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Celebrity Lezbian Fist
Celebrity Lezbian Fist is a limited edition series of silicone fists, cast from the hands of queer cultural icons by Toronto artist Paige Gratland (working under the name P.G. THING CO., a nod to Iain and Ingrid Baxter’s N.E.Thing Co.).
Gratland takes super-groupie Cynthia Caster Plaster’s notorious casting of rock star cocks (most notably Jimi Hendrix) as her starting point, but replaces the phallus with the raised, clenched fist, both as a symbol of solidarity & defiance in the face of oppression, and as a fully functioning sex toy. The works are produced in an edition of 25, cast in colours chosen by each participant, which includes artists Catherine Opie and G.B. Jones, filmmaker Cheryl Dunye, and musicians JD Samson of Le Tigre* and Phranc (who opened for The Smiths on The Queen is Dead tour, introducing herself as an “all-American Jewish lesbian folksinger”). The Celebrity Lezbian Fists are available at Art Metropole for $250 each.
*Le Tigre’s song Nanny Nanny Boo Boo includes a shout-out to C.P. Caster. Additionally, both KISS and Kim Croce have written songs about her practice (Plaster Caster, and Five Short Minutes, respectively).
Gratland’s work is often performative, invoking the politically charged performance art of the seventies. Her Free Dance Lessons project (spontaneous dance parties in civic spaces) recalls Adrian Piper’s Funk Lessons, and the Tit Pin Project is part Valie Export Touch Cinema, part Mardi-Gras revelry. Not a multiple in the strict sense, the work certainly has serial production at it’s core: curtained booths are set up in galleries and art fairs and participants (both male and female) bare their breasts for the artist’s camera. A makeshift work station is set up to instantly render the photographs on one-inch buttons, which the participant then wears home.