July 24th, p. 9: two artists

(References to mansex in public places in the second part of this posting, so that section is not for kids or the sexually modest.)

The July 24th issue of the New Yorker, p. 9, with announcements of two art shows in NYC, one (still life photographs of food by Sandy Skoglund) involving an old artistic acquaintance of mine, one (a group show with two paintings by Lucas Michael) including an artist unfamiliar to me, but LM’s theme of glory holes at an LA sex club caught my eye.

Sandy Skoglund. The New Yorker notice:


Background on Skoglund, from Wikipedia:

Sandy Skoglund (born September 11, 1946) is an American photographer and installation artist.

Skoglund creates surrealist images by building elaborate sets or tableaux, furnishing them with carefully selected colored furniture and other objects, a process of which takes her months to complete. Finally, she photographs the set, complete with actors. The works are characterized by an overwhelming amount of one object and either bright, contrasting colors or a monochromatic color scheme.

… One of her most-known works, entitled Radioactive Cats, features green-painted clay cats running amok in a gray kitchen. An older man sits in a chair with his back facing the camera while his elderly wife looks into a refrigerator that is the same color as the walls.

(#2) Radioactive Cats

[Then her 1989 work Fox Games] …

(#3) Fox Games

A third and final oft-recognized piece by her features numerous fish hovering above people in bed late at night and is called Revenge of the Goldfish. The piece was used as cover art for the Inspiral Carpets album of the same name.

(#4) Revenge of the Goldfish

From Wikipedia on the Inspiral Carpets album:

Revenge of the Goldfish is the third studio album from British indie band Inspiral Carpets. It was released 5 October 1992 on Cow Records through Mute Records.

The album’s cover art is a 1981 photograph of an installation by contemporary artist Sandy Skoglund, also titled Revenge of the Goldfish.

(You can listen to the entire album here, all 47:03 of it. Worth some attention.)

I happen to have the book accompanying an earlier Skoglund show, Reality Under Siege: A Retrospective from 1998. From the publisher:

(#5) Her 1992 manifesto The Cocktail Party featured a gathering of partygoers covered in cheese puffs (from the book jacket)

Sandy Skoglund (b 1946) is established at the forefront of contemporary art in the United States and elsewhere, bridging the boundaries between sculpture, installation art and photography. She is known for her room-sized environments, sometimes peopled with models or mannequins, and often filled with animal sculpures, which also appear in her photographs and prints. This is a retrospective of her work, published to accompany a touring exhibition from March 1998, at Smith College (Skoglund’s alma mater) and then, successively over a two-year period, in Ohio (Cincinnati and Toledo), South Carolina (Columbia) and Florida (Jacksonville).

Returning to this year’s show (#1 above), about her 1978 food still life series of that year: the Retrospective volume has five works from that series: Luncheon Meat on a Counter, Cookies on a Plate, Peas on a Plate. Nine Slices of Marblecake, Two Boxes.

Lucas Michael. From the July 24th New Yorker, in an announcement of a show at David Nolan Gallery in Chelsea, “Kink and Politics: The Ties That Bind”, curated by Wardell Milan (6/22 – 7/28/17):

disparate works by ten artists in [a] thought-provoking group show … Two spare paintings by Lucas Michael, of purple and black oblongs surrounded by gray swirls of graphite, look abstract, but in fact depict a glory hole at a gay club in L.A. called Slammer.

On the gallery’s site:

Focusing on glory holes – typically defined as a hole in the wall used in homosexual encounters – Lucas Michael (b. 1965, Buenos Aires, Argentina) makes paint and graphite on wood paintings that simultaneously celebrate and mystify these urban spaces.

The two paintings, which are quite abstract, are both graphite and paint on wood, 42 x 55 in:

(#6) LM, Dramatist, 2015

(#7) LM, Limousine Leather, 2016

A portrait of the impudent artist at a 2010 show “Lucas Michael – After Hours” at the Silverman Gallery in SF:

(#8) Note LM numerical art in the background

From a review of the show:

Comment by AB: Los Angeles artist Lucas Michael’s mysterious numerical sculptures and charcoal drawings, one-way glass installation, and video reference everything from his artist studio to gay cruising and sex clubs. Go see.

Glory holes and gay sex clubs. This is where things get sexually heavy, so if these topics are not to your taste, opt out now.

Slammer Sex Club, at 3688 Beverly Blvd, (in LA’s Koreatown), provides a range of gay baths services, including private rooms for sex, a dungeon, and a passage with glory holes:


A glory hole — there’s considerable discussion in earlier postings of mine, listed in the Page on this blog on “Sex in public” — provides an opening for at least a cock, more often cock and balls, from a man on one side (the insertor), to be serviced — usually orally, sometimes manually, occasionally anally — by a man on the other side (the receptor).

Standard glory holes have openings at roughly crotch height, often with generous openings to accommodate insertors of different heights. The insertor stands, and receptor kneels (a position for cocksucking that is emotionally satisfying for many men), or sits (on a bench or on a toilet seat), or bends down from a standing position.

The glory holes in #9 are unusually high off the ground (though I have seen such layouts), presumably so that receptors can suck cock while standing. This requires that the floor level on the insertive side be raised, so that insertors can also stand.

What you see in #9 is a whole bank of glory holes (one-on-one is the most common arrangement), which allows the cocksuckers to see each other in action and be aroused by the scene. (They might then engage in side sexual action with one another.) The insertive side might be equally open, or might have dividers / partitions / baffles between the holes (like the dividers between urinals in many mensrooms), for a modicum of privacy. In fact, the holes on the insertive side might be divided in this way (though they’re not in #9).

A posting today on AZBlogX has an ad for the glory holes at Slammer, an ad I can’t show here because it’s got a big ol’ dick right in the middle of it. It also has an entertaining caption: Behind Every Good Hole [understood: … Stands a Great Man], playing on the saying behind every great man stands / is a (great / good) woman.

A final linguistic note: the name Slammer no doubt is meant to suggest the slang term the slammer ‘prison’, but more straightforwardly it’s the agentive noun derived from the sexual verb slam ‘fuck’. From GDoS, where the relevant sense of slam is subentry 5:

(US black/campus/W.I./UK black teen) of a man, to have sexual intercourse with someone [implied in 1942 cite, explicit in 1958 cite]

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