2020 marks my 20th year making and curating porn and, while I’ve mostly been in it for the money and the social revolution, it’s nice to feel I’m being artistic as well.
Thus, I’m very proud that my film “Dear Jiz” is an official exhibit at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York. The film is part of an exhibition called On Our Backs: The Revolutionary Art Of Queer Sex Work curated by Alexis Heller, which opened on September 28. It features work by Shine Louise Houston, Veronica Vera, Midori, Leon Mostovoy, Annie Sprinkle & Beth Stephens and Robert Mapplethorpe (!) among many more. The museum says:
This exhibition explores the history of queer sex work culture, and its intimate ties to art and activism. Coined by bisexual activist, Carol Leigh, aka. The Scarlot Harlot in 1978, ‘sex work’ is broadly defined as exchanging sex or erotic services for gain and connotes personal agency and politicized action. More than a portrait of life at the margins, what emerges in this exhibit is a demonstration of queer and transgender sex workers’ deep community building, creative organizing, self-empowerment, identity/desire affirmation and healing and the use of pornography as a deft tool for queer and trans liberation.
Here’s a couple of photos of “Dear Jiz” in the context of the exhibition. Photos (c) Kristine Eudey, 2019. Courtesy the Leslie-Lohman Museum
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Can I just say how cool it is to have my name on one of those descriptive panels in a proper art gallery? Am total serious artiste, hand me my beret. Also, damn, I’m in a gallery with Robert Mapplethorpe. I remember going to see a controversial exhibition of his work in Sydney over 20 years ago and all the fuss it caused. Wow.
I didn’t write the blurb but I’ve copied what I could see from the first photo. It reads:
In a short scene shot by filmmaker Ms. Naughty in an old-fashioned clawfoot tub, the iconic genderqueer porn performer and artist Jiz Lee demonstrates how pornography can be imaginative, empowering and sexy as hell. The eroticism here is not just in the viewing but in the listening. As the powerful rush of water fills the tub and runs over Lee’s body, we hear Lee’s voice read letters from fans, detailing the many ways their work has informed fans’ explorations of gender, queerness and sexuality. Both the water and Lee’s impact on their community appear to give Lee immense pleasure.
I want to once again thank Jiz Lee for agreeing to be part of this film and for their openness and honesty in making it. Jiz continues to be a pillar of the queer porn community, always willing to give to the centre and spread the love wherever possible.
When we made the film together in Toronto in 2013 I didn’t think it would have the longevity it has. It’s screened at eleven film festivals, won me my first major filmmaking award (Best Experimental Short, Cinekink 2014) and is now an art exhibit. I think it may be the most important thing I’ve created in my porn filmmaking career.
Imagery and items from the Crash Pad Series is also part of the exhibition and I suspect that’s how my film came to the gallery’s attention. So I am thankful to Shine Louise Houston as well.
The exhibition has had some media mentions and I’m really pleased that I got a passing mention in the Guardian article about the exhibition.
You’ll find the full film at Bright Desire. Check out the preview page and trailer here.