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Pornography Becomes Butterflies, Folding Images Of Sex And Nudity Into Art

by Brandon Mercer
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(Credit: Slow Clap Productions)

(Credit: Slow Clap Productions)

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — What do you do with a giant pile of recycled porno mags, nature magazines, and a really sharp pair of scissors? (For that matter, where do you get “recycled porno mags,” and would you really want them?)

For artist Truong Tran, the answer was easy.

Cut out 9,000 paper butterflies from the centerfolds and steamy images, along with images of trees and landscapes, and attach them to art.

The idea became part of 19 works being shown at the Telegraph Hill Gallery through April 11th, with a closing reception from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The exhibit was extended due to the success of the show beginning on March 7th.

The number of butterflies corresponds to the 9,000 insects used (and some say abused till they died) at a Damien Hirst exhibit at the Tate Museum.

The idea, however, pre-dates the Hirst butterfly exhibit. He began in 2010 as he puts it, in “a meditation on themes of loss and reconciliation.”

“From afar, the aesthetic beauty of Truong’s art is what lures you in but the subject matter is what keeps us all engaged and asking questions,” said M. Madrigal, Owner of The Telegraph Hill Gallery. “It’s not just about what you see but how you are processing and viewing his work.”

Tran loves the dichotomy of graphic pornography with beautiful butterflies.

“My work is charged with unresolved issues that clearly define ones consciousness,” said Tran. “I don’t have any solutions but in exhibiting these images I hope to show what they are doing to our psyche and consciousness. And to me, that’s where the real art lies.”

As Tran is also a poet, the title alone of his work is art, in language. The abridged title of his exhibition is based on a joke with a Freudian slip. The full title is, “Or I Know You Are But What Am I Or The Fleecing of Americana Or 9000 Butterflies for Damien Hirst Or I’d Rather Do This and Call It Art Or What You’ve Heard Is True Or And Away We Go Or The Miseducation Of Gnourt Nart Or It’s Complicated Or I Meant to Say Please Pass The Sugar.”

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