The Ofﬁce for Contemporary Art Norway announces the publication of the book 'Whatever Happened to Sex in Scandinavia?', with a presentation at Artists Space, New York, December 2nd at 7pm.
Whatever Happened to Sex in Scandinavia? is an anthology co-edited by Marta Kuzma and Pablo Lafuente that reﬂects upon the juncture of the political and erotic in the 1960s and 70s in relation to the image of Scandinavia as a sexually and politically utopic territory during those decades. Through a close reading of the cultural and political history of Scandinavia, through the writings of Wilhelm Reich, Herbert Marcuse, Norman O. Brown, Daniel Guérin, Jacqueline Rose and others, and through an examination of the obscenity bonanza that emerged around Swedish ﬁlm director Vilgot Sjöman’s I Am Curious (Yellow), the publication offers a plethora of historical material that presents an investigation of the political motivations behind naming a cultural form obscene or pornographic. The publication also offers material that contributes to the understanding of how the cultural activism and the underground of the 1960s contributed to a development of a pornography industry both in the United States and in Scandinavia.
Whatever Happened to Sex in Scandinavia? includes historical writings by Susan Sontag, Herbert Marcuse, Wilhelm Reich and early feminists Katti Anker Møller and Elise Ottesen-Jensen; new texts by Håvard Friis Nilsen on the sexual politics of Norway in the 1930s as relating to the relationship between Wilhelm Reich and Leon Trotsky and by Knut Ove Arntzen on the legacy of Scandinavian Situationism; and visual contributions and archival material from artists and collectives such as Thomas Bayrle, Marie-Louise Ekman, Öyvind Fahlström, Erkki Kurenniemi, Paul Genres, Gruppe 66, Gunvor Grundel Nelson, Claes Oldenburg, Stan Brakhage, Lee Lozano, Paul Sharits and Barbara T. Smith. Whatever Happened to Sex in Scandinavia? also includes visual material from key publications from the time such as Evergreen Review, Screw, Suck, Puss, Haetsjj, Aamurusko and Gateavisa.
The anthology is designed by NODE Berlin Oslo, and published by the Ofﬁce for Contemporary Art Norway and Koenig Books, London, with generous support from Fritt Ord. It will be distributed in bookstores internationally.
About the presentation at Artists Space
As the first public presentation of the anthology, the Office for Contemporary Art Norway, in collaboration with Artists Space, will screen Barbara Rubin’s double-projection film Christmas on Earth, from 1963. The film will be introduced by MM Serra, Executive Director of the Film Maker’s Cooperative in New York, and screened from two overlapping projectors following the artist’s original instructions. Christmas on Earth is the filmic record of an orgy that took place in a New York apartment in 1963. One of the first sexually explicit film works produced by the postwar avant-garde in the US, Christmas on Earth premiered at the Factory under the title Cocks and Cunts, accompanied by a live performance by the Velvet Underground. Rubin, 19 when she shot the film, was described by Andy Warhol as ‘one of the first people to get multimedia interest going around New York City’.
The presentation in New York has been generously supported by the Norwegian Consulate General in New York and by Fritt Ord.
For more information about Whatever Happened to Sex in Scandinavia?, please visit OCA's web page.