“For some people, ‘obscenity’ is a dirty word, one that sanctimonious and censorious people have associated with my work for a long time,” filmmaker and artist Bruce LaBruce told Hint. “So I decided to give it back to them as a beautiful fragrance, something that they can spray on their bodies and luxuriate in. Perhaps it will open their minds as well as their nostrils.”
While it’s an actual fragrance, Obscenity — a unisex eau de parfum (produced in a limited-edition of 100 bottles) infused with frankincense, sandalwood, and cedar, as well as holy water from Lourdes — is part of a larger solo exhibit at The Hole gallery. In it, LaBruce thumbs his nose at self-styled arbiters of decency, presenting large-scale photos, a television commercial, and a making-of documentary — most of it incorporating blasphemous interracial ecstasy.
Obviously satirical, the show nonetheless condemns a lingering prudishness and willful closed-mindedness among modern society. Having transcended his radical-queer roots some time ago, LaBruce — or, as he encourages, BlaB — has been producing especially graphic, unapologetic work of late, dealing with sexually taboo themes of necrophilia and, most recently, Gerontophilia, also the title of his latest feature-length film, a deeply unsettling yet charming May-December romance (premiering later this month at NewFest in New York).
Obscenity, July 10 – August 23, 2014, The Hole, 310 Bowery, NYC