Identity Politics

"It’s a genetic and social fact that according to the entrenched conventions of racial classification in this country you are probably black.

So if I choose to identify myself as black whereas you do not, that’s not just a special, personal fact about me. It’s a fact about us. It’s our problem to solve. So, how do you propose we solve it? What are you going to do?"

- Adrian Piper
Adrian Piper, Cornered, 1988.











Adrian Piper, What Will Become of Me, 1985 - ongoing.












Adrian Piper, What Will Become of Me, 1985 - ongoing.





















Frank Herrera, Corcoran protest, 1989.












Cala Lily

Robert Mapplethorpe, Calla Lily, 1984.
Robert Mapplethorpe, Poppy, 1988.











Female Nude

Male Nude

Robert Mapplethorpe, Untitled (female nude), 1981.
Robert Mapplethorpe, Untitled (male nude), 1981.











Robert Mapplethorpe, Ken and Tyler, 1985.
Robert Mapplethorpe, Derrick Cross, 1983.











Robert Mapplethorpe, Two Men Dancing, 1984.
Robert Mapplethorpe, Brian Ridley and Lyle Heeter, 1979.










"[Mapplethorpe's] various guises – militia man, gay sex fiend, femme fatale – reveal a committed exploration of Catholic themes familiar throughout art history: the debasement and transcendence of the flesh; transgression, punishment and confession; agony and ecstasy. As curator and art historian Germano Celant has observed, Mapplethorpe was deeply spiritual but he plunged headlong into the dark side of religion, courting something of a “Catholic inversion” characterised by an attraction to the demonic, the violent and the abject, all the while striving toward a vision of redemption, the conversion of suffering into grace through beauty, balance and stasis." - Kevin Moore in Whipping Up a Storm
Robert Mapplethorpe, Self-Portrait, 1983.
Robert Mapplethorpe, Self-Portrait, 1989.
Robert Mapplethorpe, Self-Portrait, 1980. Printed in 2000.











Self-Portrait with Bullwhip

Robert Mapplethorpe, Self-Portrait with Bullwhip, 1978.



LACMA presentation of Mapplethorpe's X, Y, and Z Portfolios





















Ron Athey

Ron Athey, Incorruptible Flesh (Perpetual Wound), 2006.


Ron Athey interview











St. Sebastian

Andrea Mantegna, Martyrdom of St.Sebastian, 1456 - 1459.
Catherine Opie, Ron Athey, 1994.











Four Scene in a Harsh Life, L.A. Center Theater, 1993.
Catherine Opie, Ron Cutting Divinity, 2000.











"Ron Athey forces the body to transcend it's confines.  His brilliance manifests as exorcism not only of, and for, the cauterizing of his own pain, but by pushing the boundaries of endurance through artistic expression,he shares his compassionate epiphany:  We all need to break free from the shackles placed upon the individual by society, family, religion and gender." - From Ron Athey's biography

Ron Athey

Ron Athey performing