The opening night of the 101 Vagina Exhibition and Book Launch at Laguna Gallery of Contemporary Art was huge.
It helped that the first Thursday of the month is Laguna Beach Art Walk. It meant that a lot of people came through who otherwise would never have come in contact with it.
In particular I was really happy to see many older ladies come through the exhibition, as well as young men. We so commonly assume older ladies to be conservative and prudish and we assume young men to not give a shit about women’s issues. That judgement doesn’t serve us.
The broad appeal of the exhibition was also aided by having had front page coverage in the Coastline Pilot, Laguna Beache’s local paper published by the LA Times.
Interview with Lynda & Diann.
“It’s very educational and very interesting”
Ah, San Francisco !
I had wanted SF to be the first city I visited in the tour, it being the beacon of all things sexually progressive in the USA, but the simple reality of gallery availability meant that this came after LA.
Sexuality Educator Lenae St.John come in and give her perspective on the issue, and while in SF I managed to get a bunch of books to the Good Vibrations stores which I was really happy about.
There was also space in the gallery for a vagina crafternoon table and for another artist’s vagina art, which for me was the highlight of the exhibition there. People’s creativity continues to blow me away :)
So, here’s a few images of the exhibition.
I was honoured by Dr Berta Davis’ attendance at the L.A. launch of the 101 Vagina book on 5th April 2014. A couple of days later I caught up with her for an interview.
Dr Davis speaks about the 101 Vagina book from her perspective of having been a Sex Therapist for 30 years, clinical psychologist for 35 years, and currently running the couple and sex therapy training program at UCLA.
“I think the book is doing something that no other piece of literature has done … to have been able to capture the aesthetics of femininity as well as the personal narrative.”
Berta has a charming, positive, kind and humble presence and it was a great pleasure and honour to meet with her and receive such a strong endorsement of the 101 Vagina book.
Often in today’s culture we seem to value pop psychology, bombastic claims and numbers of followers over simple, humble experience gained over many years of dedicated work. Dr Davis stands as a great testament to the value of the latter!
See Dr Davis’ website here: http://bertadavis.com
Recorded 7th April 2014 at Dr Davis’ office in Encino, CA.
Gave a book away to a woman who just sat and cried in front of one of the photos and stories.
Whoever you are, I made this book for you!
This is why I created this project. There is so much healing needed around these issues, and every time I exhibit I see people being moved, being touched, and having their hearts and minds opened.
At the opening here in San Francisco there was a small group of boisterous young men present. They were not disrespectful but hadn’t yet engaged with the stories. They asked which one to read and I pointed them straight to the woman who’d been on the verge of cutting her own labia with a pair of scissors as a teenager.
Like everyone else they became absorbed in the ocean of emotion and feeling expressed in the stories.
It is a complex set of issues and emotions to find yourself confronted with. I have the sense that the lighter stories and funny quips actually do a lot to open people to the deeper and darker stories and experiences. If all the messages were ones of trauma people would perhaps keep some sort of guard up, to prevent themselves from feeling overwhelmed. And if it was only light and funny, people would dismiss it as too superficial.
But because trauma is interspersed with laughter and joy, the same way life is, people remain open and unable to either dismiss the lighter side, nor guard against the darker.
Again and again I see how powerful this work is.
Great article by David Hansen about the 101 Vagina exhibition that will be at Laguna Beach from 1-8 May, 2014.
David and I spoke at length about the project and related issues. It was interesting for me that he was surprised that this was still an issue. As he reflects in the article, he had thought that all this was dealt with in the sexual and feminist revolutions of the 60’s and 70’s . But if that was the case then why are the numbers of women seeking out labiaplasty (genital cosmetic surgery) skyrocketing?
There is also a lot of discussion in the media about rape culture. How could rape culture exist if we were all truly comfortable with our, and other people’s, sexuality? This is a huge issue, and until we deal with the underlying sexual repression and suppression, we won’t get anywhere near getting rid of sexual abuse in our society.
So, yes, this issue has not nearly gone away.
Click this link to read the full article:
Dr Hernando Chaves is an MFT therapist and Professor of Human Sexuality. He writes and lectures extensively on the subject.
I approached Hernando over a year ago when the project was in it’s infancy and we’ve been communicating about it since them.
It was great to finally meet at the exhibition and book launch in Los Angeles and to catch up for an interview. Hernando is positive and energetic and passionately engaged in the issues around sex education.
“It’s really important for men to get to know what women are thinking and experiencing.”
See Dr Chaves’ website here: http://drhernandochaves.com/
Recorded on 7th April 2014.
Saturday 5 April – Sunday 13 April, 2014
Sat 5 April, 6-9pm
Think Tank Gallery
939 Maple Ave, Suite #200
101 Vagina successfully launched in the USA at the Exhibition and Book Launch in Los Angeles at Think Tank Gallery in Downtown Los Angeles.
I can’t believe that it’s only been two and a half weeks since I got on the plane in Sydney on my way to Los Angeles, and now the first of my six city tour of USA and Canada is already done.
Thanks so much to the amazing crew at Think Tank Gallery, in particular Jacob Patterson. I was honoured to be at their space and felt very supported.
So, what’s happened since I got here?
Think Tank Gallery is a fantastic, huge space. I had a week to get over my jet lag and do some promo work getting flyers around the place and hanging a big banner out the front.
I was also super happy to have room for other artists to show their vagina art. Thanks to Mia Maldonado, Christiana, Morgan Miller and Ginger Liu!
This is the first time I’ve been able to hang all 101 images and messages in a single row, normally I need to double up.
People also jumped onto the vagina craft table with enthusiasm!
And as usual there we some great messages in the guest book.
And then it was all over.