When I began graduate school, I also began working in the sex industry as a way to finance my education without having to work full-time. I was also drawn to the Lusty Lady Peepshow as it was notorious for being the only unionized sex industry venue in North America. During my employment there I became a shop steward and was involved in negotiating a contract and going “on strike” to do so. Issues of power, marginality, looking and authorship...of who is entitled to look, in which contexts, and for what proposed reasons, filled my consciousness at both work and school. As a woman artist, I was becoming preoccupied with Baudelaire’s definition of “art as prostitution - or the making public of one's private fantasies - or artistic creations”. During the three years of developing my work while under the intensive tutelage of the institution, I recognized more and more within myself a conflict raging between my public body and my private body. I began to question the conflict apparent in the making public of - "naked" bodies in pornography but "nude figures" in art, illicit sexual desires in the sex industry but legitimate fantasies or artistic creations in the art world, and aberrant sexual bodies in the sex industry but normalized sexual bodies in the corporate world of advertising. These internal conflicts instigated a process of questioning the value and legitimacy given to certain types of "work" over others, both in the art world and in the world at large. I am interested in these struggles for legitimacy and how they are played out socially, culturally and economically.



     

all material copyright © Linda Ford 2015 unless otherwise noted

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