Tag Archives: William E. Jones


REVERIES—an exhibition of work by the highly influential photographer and filmmaker James Bidgood (try imagining Pierre et Gilles or David LaChapelle without him)—will be up for two more weeks at the Museum of Sex in Manhattan. The show was curated by Lissa Rivera and the artistic director was Serge Becker.

Bidgood’s work is so self-contained that it appears to exist outside of time. Historical referents and views of exteriors hardly impinge at all on his visual world; and yet Bidgood was very much a man of his era. He contributed lush color photographs to magazines such as Muscleboy and The Young Physique during their vogue in the early 1960s. He began work on PINK NARCISSUS in 1963. That year, Jack Smith finished Flaming Creatures and shot Normal Love, Andy Warhol began making films, and Kenneth Anger directed Scorpio Rising; the following year Susan Sontag would publish “Notes on ‘Camp.’ ” 

As the ’60s were happening outside his door, Bidgood was shooting mainly inside, in his cramped Hell’s Kitchen apartment, constantly augmenting and revising his elaborate sets and compositions to approximate the baroque ideal he envisioned. — William E. Jones


Through September 8.

Museum of Sex

233 Fifth Avenue (at 27th Street), New York City.

James Bidgood, from top: Lobster (Jay Garvin), from the series Water Colors, circa early 1960s, digital C-print; Pan (Bobby Kendall), circa late 1960s, digital C-print; Double Image (Kendall), from the series Test Shots, circa early 1960s, digital C-print; Willow Tree (Bruce Kirkman, detail), circa 1965, digital C-print; Street Scene from Pink Narcissus (1971), circa late-1960s; backstage during the filming of Pink Narcissus, contact sheet, circa 1960s; ; Cyclist Sprawled on Tiles in Front of Urinals from Pink Narcissus (Trate Farell), circa mid-1960s; Smoking, Sandcastles (Kendall and Garvin), circa 1960s, digital C-print; Bobby Kendall Seated in Chair Holding Phone, circa mid-1960s; Pearl, Water Colors (Garvin), circa early 1960s; Mythical Woodland, Snake Silhouetted by Moon (Blue Moon), circa late-1960s. Images courtesy and © the artist, ClampArt, New York, and Kelly McKaig.


Writer, artist, and curator William E. Jones will talk about his new book—the sex Bildungsroman I’M OPEN TO ANYTHING—with Jarett Kobek.

Jones is the author of Halsted Plays Himself—the heavily illustrated biography of porn auteur Fred Halsted—and True Homosexual Experiences: Boyd McDonald and Straight to Hell.


Saturday, May 18, at 3 pm.

Artbook at Hauser & Wirth

917 East 3rd Street, downtown Los Angeles.

From top: William E. Jones; book cover image courtesy and © We Heard You Like Books; Fred Halsted, A Night at Halsted’s (1981).


Join Rick Castro, Mariah Garnett, Nguyen Tan Hoang, William E. Jones, and Brontez Purnell at the L.A. Art Book Fair for the Dirty Looks event CONVERSION THERAPY.

The panelists will discuss “the language of filmmaking and how it relates to underground publishing.”*


Friday, April 12, at 6 pm.

Geffen Contemporary at MOCA

152 North Central Avenue, downtown Los Angeles.

From top: William E. Jones, The Fall of Communism as Seen in Gay Pornography, 1998, still, courtesy the artist and David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles; Brontez Purnell, courtesy the artist; Nguyen Tan Hoang, courtesy the author; Mariah Garnett, Encounters I May or May Not Have Had with Peter Berlin, 2012, still, courtesy the artist; Tony Ward in Hustler White (1996), written and directed by Bruce LaBruce and Rick Castro, courtesy the artists.


“Growing up, I always assumed every store had an over-18 section. It was only when I got older that I realized my parents were in the business of hardcore gay porn. This was a completely strange thing for me, because this was not the world I knew to be of my parents: straight-laced, boring, and in my mom’s case, religious. The world of sexual deviants, gender nonconforming transgressives and weirdos, that was my world, not theirs…

“And yet, it took me leaving Los Angeles for over a decade to fully comprehend what a massive role their two Circus of Books stores served for the community. It took making a documentary film to realize that they had nurtured a second family to the family they had at home. They had carved out their own special place as trusted shop owners who never judged anyone who showed up in their surreptitious aisles, even as the rest of the world cast down condemnation, to say nothing of other parents at our school. As the store was closing last week, a Vietnam veteran walked through the doors and stood, unmoving in front of the register. My mom had protested against Vietnam, and she proceeded to tell him how terrible the Vietnam War was, and he looked at her and said, ‘Thank you. This store is part of my history, and some of the best years of my life happened here.’ ” — Rachel Mason, producer and director, Circus of Books*

The original Circus of Books—called “Book Circus”—opened in West Hollywood in 1967, followed by the Silver Lake location at Sunset Junction. An exhibition celebrating the communal culture and backrooms of Karen and Barry Mason‘s adults-only emporiums—fifty years of getting off—is now on view in Manhattan.

The show—curated by David Fierman with Rachel Mason—features artwork by Wilder Alison, Ron Athey, Adam Baran, Bengala, Erik Bergrin, Michael Bilsborough, Raynes Birkbeck, Seth Bogart, Chris Bogia, Kathe Burkhart, Deric Carner, Chivas Clem, Scott Covert, Vaginal Davis, Anne Doran, Thomas Dozol, Zackary Drucker, Ruben Esparza, Tom of Finland, Karen Finley, Benjamin Fredrickson, ektor garcia, Mariah Garnett, Mark Golamco, Jeff Grant, Michelle Handelman, Charles Hovland, Scott Hug, David Hurles, Stephen Irwin, William E. Jones, Wayne Koestenbaum, Mike Kuchar, Bruce LaBruce, Dawn Mellor, Lucas Michael, Billy Miller, Bob Mizer, David Mramor, Narcissister, Dominic Nurre, Mel Ottenberg, Jack Pierson, Breyer P-Orridge, Pre-Echo Press, Fay Ray, Mariah Robertson, Dean Sameshima, Stuart Sandford, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Margie Schnibbe, Michael Stipe, Chris E. Vargas, Mark Verabioff, Jan Wandrag, Karlheinz Weinberger, Jimmy Wright, and Dorian Wood.


Through May 6.


127 Henry Street, New York City.

From top: Vaginal Davis, Ascyltos of the Satyricon, 2016, ink on paper; Dominic Nurre, Vale of Cashmere Head, 2017–19, coconut shell, coconut oil, salt lick, and acrylic; David Mramor, Pink Star, 2019, oil, acrylic, and inkjet on canvas; Wayne Koestenbaum, David at Leisure, 2019, oil and graphite on canvas paper; Lucas Michael, G5CR, 2017, neon; Dawn Mellor, Southend Beach, 2013, oil, Tipp-ex, and marker pen on linen; Jimmy Wright, Griffith Park, LA, 1973, graphite and charcoal on graph paper; Seth Bogart, Faggots, 2019, ceramic; Mike Kuchar, Liquid Dreams, circa 1980s–1990s, pencil, pens, felt pens, and ink on paper; Scott Hug, Untitled (STH_PW_003), 2018, collage; Jeff Grant, Snow and Holes, 2018, archival inkjet print, staples, and clearlay; Karen Finley, dickless, 2018, ink on paper. Images courtesy the artists and Fierman gallery. Special thanks to David Fierman and Rachel Mason.


“April 21, 1980

Alexander Iolas was coming to lunch [at the Factory] with a couple of clients and we needed a couple of boys to entertain. And I called James Curley and he brought his cousin David Laughlin, who works at the Coe Kerr Gallery. Iolas arrived, and his contact that he never takes out of his eye got lost, and he had me look for it, but I couldn’t see it….

“August 5, 1982

I introduced [Factory assistant] Robyn to Iolas….Robyn’s such a nice kid but he has no ambition, and he does want to be an artist, so I thought that since Ronnie Cutrone left and things worked out so well for him…that maybe it could happen for Robyn, too. So 74-year-old Iolas grabbed Robyn’s hand….Iolas thought he’d get Robyn’s energy. But I was hoping Robyn got his.” — from The Andy Warhol Diaries*

In FALL INTO RUIN, at David Kordansky in its closing week, writer-photographer-filmmaker-curator-provocateur William E. Jones brings together twenty of his interior photographs of the Athens villa of international art dealer Alexander Iolas. Taken in 1982, they are displayed in hand-coated inkjet prints made this year. Included in the exhibition is Fall into Ruin, Jones’ 30-minute documentary about Iolas, featuring Jones’ narration and stills taken during trips Jones made to Greece in 1982 and 2016.

“Iolas can be credited with mounting Warhol’s first and last gallery show in his lifetime, bringing Surrealism to the United States, and introducing the East Coast to Ed Ruscha. Unlike Iolas’s contemporaries—who included Ileana Sonnabend, Leo Castelli and Bruno Bischofberger—Iolas’s legacy has nearly faded into obscurity after he succumbed to AIDS in 1987, at 80.” — Ann Binlot



Through August 26.

David Kordansky Gallery

5130 West Edgewood Place, Los Angeles.

*Andy Warhol, The Andy Warhol Diaries (New York: Warner Books, 1989), 283, 456.

See “Abandoned Places and Urban Decay, Villa Iolas, Athens.”

From top:

Installation, William E. Jones, from Fall into Ruin, David Kordansky Gallery.

Andy Warhol, Alexander Iolas.

Exhibition poster for show at Alexander Iolas GalleryAndy Warhol, Alexander Iolas.

Installation, William E. Jones, from Fall into Ruin, David Kordansky Gallery.

Images courtesy William E. Jones and David Kordansky Gallery.