Before "Forever Marilyn," Sculptor Did Hardcore Porn

Before Forever Marilyn was plopped down in Chicago, in 2010 it came to light that J. Seward Johnson had six giant sculptures fabricated (supposedly) of the brother of the Sultan of Brunei in various explicit sexual positions, picked out from the Kama Sutra. (As a spokesperson for Johnson stated, the Kama Sutra sex positions are in the public domain, no worries about copyright infringement there, unlike Johnson's other pieces.)

Johnson was reportedly paid about $1 million for the pieces.

Chicago collector Scott Hunter, who neither collects Johnson nor appreciates his work, reminded me of his lesser-known output that was part of a trial in New York.  The brother to the Sultan, Prince Jefri, decided to sue his financial advisers after a long series of events that saw the Prince spending through around $14 billion in state funds, nearly facing criminal charges for it, and then being sued himself by Sultan.  The defense in New York wanted to show the sculptures, which were placed around Jefri's swimming pool in his U.S. estate.

Like Forever Marilyn, these sculptures are drily mechanical, with no hint of the actual erotism of the Kama Sutra.  That's my issue with Johnson's work (well one of them), not the sexuality itself at all, but the fact it's drained of emotion, of volition, of sexuality, really.  These are merely bodies, recalling some adolescent that has rearranged lawn ornaments to look like they're humping.  They're like pieces from some XXX mini-golf course that I would gladly pay to be on.  That's it, I'm calling his work "mini-golf art."  I especially like the one of the guy pointing like the Fonz, heyyyyyyyyyy.

Let's hope that Zeller Realty brings these Seward Johnson pieces to town next.

 

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  • I like this Prince Jefri guy.......looks like he knows how to roll.

    Abe, seriously, this makes you look like a complete hater. Hardcore porn?

    This weekend, how about acting a little more like Prince Jefri with your woman, or man, or partner, or pillow and relieve some of that stress.

  • In reply to gwill:

    No doubt Jefri knew how to roll, with $14B who wouldn't?

    Yeah, you are right. I completely hate Seward Johnson's work. That's part of the whole art critic thing, you gotta talk about what you hate along with what you like. Check this out for what I like: http://www.artslant.com/chi/articles/show/24175

    Thanks for the tip on my personal life, but I'm not sure I'm going to take advice from a guy that wants to "tap" an clunky aluminum mannequin. LOL.

  • In reply to Abraham Ritchie:

    Abe, 3 things in reply:

    1). I'm not an art critic, film critic, or any kind of critic, but I think there's a difference between being a critic and being hater. For example, if my girl gains 15 lbs. on her butt this summer, I'm going to critique her butt. I'm going to be a critic. I'll still love her though (and buy her weightwatchers). On the other hand, if my girl sleeps around with my friends and puts it on youtube, I'm going to hate that ho. I'm going to be a hater. I'm feeling more of the latter from your piece.

    2). Absolutely, if giant Marilyn was alive I would definitely try to tap that.

    3). I checked your website, good solid work.

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