PRINT December 2015


Abel Ferrara, Ms .45, 1981, 35 mm, color, sound, 80 minutes. Thana (Zoë Lund).

SOMETIMES A CIGAR is just a cigar, but sex is never just sex. The drive that Freud decorously called Eros is always entangled—in the most serious and urgent ways—with technology, politics, ideology, economics. And in 2015, these entwinements seemed even more vexed and rife with contradictions than usual. The hacking of philanderers’ website Ashley Madison revealed that (surprise) many defenders of “traditional marriage” don’t practice what they preach; India’s government vowed to expand Internet access and promptly blocked Internet porn; “female Viagra” turned women on but also made them pass out cold: These are just a few of the recent events that might prompt us to reflect on sex as a paradoxical force that challenges neoliberalism and abets it, opposes fundamentalism and energizes it. For its annual look back at the year that was, Artforum asked contributors to consider some of these paradoxes as they’ve manifested over the past twelve months, and to investigate how sex might operate as a site of experience, of labor, of financialization, of violence. Here, FINN BRUNTON teases out the implications of online privacy and sexual desire, CHARITY SCRIBNER explores the links between sex and militancy, and SARAH NICOLE PRICKETT muses on robot love, Magic Mike’s allure, and other facets of an ever-popular pastime