The portrait of a young artist making both a living and a life
As a young artist trying to make a living in New York without sacrificing all her time to paying rent, Sophia Giovannitti turned to sex work: first, telling herself it was part of her art, and then quickly accepting it as simply the way to make the most money in the shortest possible time. Weaving between the art world and the sex industry, she learned how much the two markets have in common: both built on the buying and selling of creativity and desire, authenticity and intimacy. The power of each lies in believing—or pretending—they can provide meaning outside of monetary exchange.
Sex and art, we're told, are sacred, two spheres that ought to be kept separate from the ravages of the marketplace. Yet both prop up two incredibly lucrative industries, built on the commodification of creativity and desire, authenticity and intimacy. Our reaction to this should not be moral or political outrage, nor legal regulation or denial, but rather-as Sophia Giovannitti argues here-acceptance, through which we can find a more autonomous way to live.
In this searching and provocative work, moving from the author’s own experiences to political analyses and the workings of the contemporary art world, Giovannitti asks how we might face the great dilemma of the art and sex industries head on: what happens to desire, beauty, creativity, and autonomy when everything is a transaction? Giovannitti finds a way to commit her life to art, to intimacy, and to freedom on her own terms.