October 1st, 2014
Exhibit Runs October 1, 2014–November 16, 2014
Reception Friday, October 10, 7-10 pm
Film Screening, Saturday, October 11, 7–9 pm A Good Day to Be Black & Sexy, plus Q&A with Dennis Dortch and Numa Perrier
Cheryl Dunye & crystal am nelson, Sunday, November 16, 7 pm, Emerging Scholars Program - Queer Cultural Center event
Michaela Pilar Brown
The Center for Sex and Culture is pleased to present the group exhibition, Dark Desires: The Erotic Lives of Black Women.
What is the role of desire in the lives of black women (cis, trans, and woman-identified)?
An important group exhibition, Dark Desires answers this question by exploring the history of the black erotic, broadly speaking, with a particular interest in black female-identified sexual subjectivities. Dark Desires features a selection of material from the Center’s library and archive as well to provide a much needed historical framework for the ways in which black female (identified) sexual positivity has been imagined and self-represented across spheres. Highlights include issues of the landmark magazine On Our Backs, the first women-run, lesbian erotica magazine in the United States; vintage BDSM pulp novels from Star Distributors that tell of the kinky exploits of black dommes; and a large scale centerfold poster published in September 1984’s Penthouse magazine that cost Vanessa Williams her Miss America crown; among other ephemera.
We also have invited artists from around the country who work in a range of media—photography, drawing, video, collage, and sound sculpture—to bring into relief the ways in which contemporary visual artists and their black female (identified) subjects are engaging with this history and self-defined notions of the erotic, pleasure, desire and their uses in their own lives and in the worlds through which they circulate. In this portion of the exhibition we present Michaela Pilar Brown, whose large-scale color photographs explore the ways in which history and memory leave traces on and through the body; Rashayla Marie Brown, whose photographic and video performance works included here subverts the power dynamics of the Gaze and reveals the tensions that engorge desire in search of an object; Ajuan Mance, whose drawings of men she meets on the streets of the Bay Area challenges conventional notions of where queer black female desire is located; Megan Morgan, whose practice grapples with the eroticization of visibly miscegenated bodies and the sexual histories they expose; Nanci Nwamaka Ikejimba Muraoka, whose sound sculptures explore sexual experimentation and discovery between and among black women; co-founder of the entertainment and lifestyle network Black&Sexy TV, Numa Perrier, whose selfies are a testament to the ways back women not only see themselves, but also desire to be seen; Keisha Scarville, whose black and white photographs present the body as the primary site where pleasure and trauma collide and entwine; Cascade Wilhelm, a white artist whose nude photographic portraits of the curator—a queer black woman—disrupt commonly accepted notions of racial and sexual objectification; and Visions from the New California award winning artist Suné Woods, whose new large-scale collages mine desire as something that is at once sexual, sensual, and political.
Michaela Pilar Brown (Charleston, SC)
Rashayla Marie Brown (Chicago, IL)
Ajuan Mance (Oakland, CA)
Megan Morgan (Sacramento, CA)
Nanci Nwamaka Ikejimba Muraoka (Los Angeles, CA)
Numa Perrier (Los Angeles, CA / Black&SexyTV)
Keisha Scarville (Brooklyn, NY)
Cascade Wilhelm (Los Angeles, CA)
Suné Woods (Los Angeles, CA)
Free and open to the public, the reception for Dark Desires is Friday, October 10, 2014, 7–10 pm at the Center for Sex and Culture. There will be an artist roundtable discussion led by the curator at 7:30 pm.
On Saturday, October 11, 2014, 7–9 pm, we will screen A Good Day to Be Black & Sexy, which we will follow with a Q&A of director, writer, producer Dennis Dortch and co-producer and Dark Desires artist Numa Perrier. The screening takes place at the Center for Sex and Culture. Seating capacity is 100.
On Sunday November 16, 2014, 7-9 pm, Center for Sex and Culture will host the Queer Cultural Center’s Emerging Scholars Program event, a conversation between crystal am nelson and filmmaker and educator Cheryl Dunye.
Dark Desires is curated and organized by crystal am nelson. For more information about the curator, please visitwww.crystalamnelson.com.
Rashayla Marie Brown
About the Center for Sex and Culture
The Mission of the Center for Sex & Culture is to provide judgment-free education, cultural events, a library/media archive, and other resources to audiences across the sexual and gender spectrum; and to research and disseminate factual information, framing and informing issues of public policy and public health.
The Center for Sex and Culture
1349 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
Gallery hours, Monday 11 am-4 pm and by appointment contact email@example.com