David Kordansky Gallery presents the debut of Firsthand, a new series of online exhibitions in which artists discuss their work in their own words, exploring process and context through interviews, essays, and personal reflections. The inaugural presentation in the series, Firsthand: William E. Jones on The Fall of Communism as Seen in Gay Pornography, will remain on view through August 26, 2020.
Over the course of 30 years, William E. Jones has produced a genre-defying body of work that includes films, videos, photographs, and texts. His approaches to archival material encompass a range of modes. He alternately employs research, critique, autobiography, fiction, and appropriation to offer bracing—and often controversial—reassessments of the historical record. Jones’s subject matter is equally broad. The hidden agendas of Farm Security Administration (FSA) photography; the relationship between Ancient Greek philosophy and the informational overabundance of the internet; and the life and legacy of avant-garde queer filmmaker Fred Halsted have fallen under his purview.
The Fall of Communism as Seen in Gay Pornography (1998) is an important video from a moment in Jones’s career when he was beginning to leave behind the world of independent documentary cinema for a more free-wheeling practice that existed—and continues to exist—at the margins between several disciplines. Comprised entirely of footage from gay adult videos made in Eastern Europe in the first years after the arrival of capitalism, it poses pointed questions about sex, market forces, and politics. In this online exhibition, Jones discusses the work’s genesis, historical background, and continued relevance with Stuart Krimko, the gallery’s Research and Editorial Director.
Press release courtesy David Kordansky Gallery.