Cosey Fanni Tutti. co-temptress along with Genesis P-Orridge of COUM Transmissions, the quintessential 1960s/70s performance and mail art group, and co-founder of ground-breaking prototypical Industrial Music group Throbbing Gristle, has just announced her long-awaited memoir, Art Sex Music, which will be published in the UK in early 2017.
COUM Transmissions was a confrontational and subversive art group founded in England in 1969 and active until 1976. Their forte was challenging conventional ideas of art, manners, sex and behavior, earning them the disdain of much of the Britih press and chastised in Parliament by Tory MP Nicholas Fairbairn, who referred to COUM as the “wreckers of Western civilization.” Their Prostitution show, which consisted of explicit photographs of lesbians, assemblages of rusty knives, syringes, bloodied hair, used sanitary towels, press clippings and photo documentation of COUM performances in Milan and Paris, was so outrageous that Australia banned the group from traveling there.
This didn’t prevent them from visiting Los Angeles in 1976 where, under the auspices of InterMedia Magazine, they gave two performances, one at the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporry Art (LAICA), where, before the bewildered eyes of LA’s art royalty, they proceeded to do all sorts of nasty things with (fake) blood and urine, vomit, nails, glass, and milk. Members of LA’s elite walked out one-by-one. Performance-art eminence Chris Burden’s reported parting shot: “This is not art, this is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen; these people are sick.” Conceptual-art bigwig John Baldessari was unimpressed.
Painful but Fabulous, an illustrated catalog/photo album of Genesis’ life in art, was published in 2003 and has long been out of print (and is selling for several hundred dollars at eBay). Cosey’s Art Sex Music is scheduled for a May 1 release in the States. Here’s the publisher’s blurb:
Art Sex Music is the autobiography of a musician who, as a founding member of the avant-garde group Throbbing Gristle and electronic pioneers Chris & Cosey, has consistently challenged the boundaries of music over the past four decades.
It is the account of an artist who, as part of COUM Transmissions, represented Britain at the IXth Biennale de Paris, whose Prostitution show at the ICA in 1976 caused the Conservative MP Nicholas Fairbairn to declare her, COUM and Throbbing Gristle ‘Wreckers of Civilisation’… shortly before he was arrested for indecent exposure, and whose work continues to be held at the vanguard of contemporary art, some of which resides as part of the Tate permanent collection.
And it is the story of her work as a pornographic model and striptease artiste which challenged assumptions about morality, pornography and art.
Art Sex Music is the wise, shocking and elegant autobiography of Cosey Fanni Tutti.