Last night, through a torrential rain, disciples of Genesis Breyer P-Orridge made the trek to MoMA to soak in the magical words of the Throbbing Gristle frontman, industrial music legend and “pandrogynous” performance artist. The talk focused primarily on P-Orridge’s work in the 1970s with his art project COUM Transmissions, leading the rapt crowd through the beginnings of what would come to be one of the most transgressive careers in modern music and art history.
Early footage included a recently discovered tape of a performance, billed as a lecture on the history of art, that showed Genesis inseminating herself rectally with a milky liquid while pornographic audio played. Showcasing acts of nudity and self-mutilation, alongside installations made from refuse (bodily and otherwise), P-Orridge took us through the tumult that resulted in arrests and ultimate deportation from England. When asked how artists might take such risks today, P-Orridge replied, “Artists of a younger generation will need to find ways to continue changing and evolving the human race. We wish them luck.”
“Hot on the Heels of Love” (1979) — Throbbing Gristle