DUETS Book Celebration: Ben Cuevas, Annie Sprinkle & Beth Stephens in Conversation
Museum of Sex
To celebrate the publication DUETS: Ben Cuevas & Annie Sprinkle in Conversation, Visual AIDS hosted a discussion with Ben Cuevas, Annie Sprinkle, and Beth Stephens. The conversation covered topics ranging from art, knitting, postporn, ecosex, HIV, love, loss, risk, activism, feminism, go-go dancing, orgasms, humor, and death. DUETS contributor John Chaich introduced the program, reading his Foreword to the publication.
As a queer, male-bodied, HIV-positive artist, Cuevas' work challenges viewers’ fears of HIV and helps revive a queer culture lost to AIDS and gentrification. Annie Sprinkle and her partner and collaborator Beth Stephens, who contributed an Afterword to the publication, join the conversation to discuss their longterm work at the forefront of art and performance, provoking sex-positive practices and activism as well as pollinating ecosexual art and theory around the planet.
DUETS is a series of publications that pairs artists, activists, writers, and thinkers in dialogues about their creative practices and current social issues around HIV/AIDS.
Ben Cuevas is a Los Angeles–based interdisciplinary artist whose work spans a wide range of mediums, including installation, sculpture, fiber, photography, video, performance, and sound. Born in Riverside, California, in 1987, he received his BA from Hampshire College with a concentration in mixed-media installation art. Cuevas’s work has been exhibited in group and solo shows around the world, from Los Angeles to New York to Hong Kong, in galleries, museums, and private collections.
Annie Sprinkle was a Manhattan-based sex worker for twenty years before she morphed into a multimedia artist and filmmaker. Her one-woman shows, Post Porn Modernist and Annie Sprinkle’s Herstory of Porn, toured to twenty-one countries. Sprinkle was awarded the Artist/ Activist/Scholar Award from Performance Studies International (at Stanford University) and the Acker Award for Excellence in the Avant Garde. She currently collaborates with her partner, Beth Stephens, and together they are pollinating ecosexual art, theory, practices, and activism around the planet.
Beth Stephens is a performance artist, filmmaker, and writer. For the past fourteen years, she has collaborated with Annie Sprinkle. Together they are at the forefront of the growing ecosex movement, which engages a diverse and interdisciplinary group of outsider activists, theorists, artists, and sex workers as the movement creates spaces for imagining other kinds of futures, particularly in the face of climate change. Stephens received her PhD in performance studies from the University of California, Davis, and her MFA in art from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. She is currently a professor in the art department at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
John Chaich is an independent curator, designer, and writer based in New York. Recent exhibitions include Vivek Shraya: Trisha at the Ace Hotel New York; Queer Threads: Crafting Identity & Community at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, New York; the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore; and the Mills Gallery at the Boston Center for the Arts; and Mixed Messages: A(I)DS, Art, and Words, produced for Visual AIDS at La MaMa Galleria, New York, and Transformer Gallery, Washington, DC. Chaich has written on art and pop culture for BUST, sway, and Art & Understanding magazines and has contributed essays to the Body Outlaws anthology and PPOW catalogue; he is coeditor, with Todd Oldham, of the book Queer Threads (AMMO Books, 2016).
Saturday, February 25, 2017 from 3:00pm