Sperm Cult is a group exhibition featuring eight artists, including Oscar Tuazon, Ariana Reines, and Elijah Burgher. It developed out of a collaborative book project of the same name by Burgher and Richard Hawkins. The initial collaboration featured elements of each artist’s practice; Burgher’s interest in the occult and Hawkins’ interest in ethnographic sexual taboos and rituals. For the exhibition, Burgher and Hawkins were invited to re-conceive the project wholesale, soliciting the participation of other artists whose work shares similar themes of sex, sexuality, transgression, desire, and ritual.
If societies are founded upon a sexual matrix, the heart of which is reproduction of the species, then sexual cults and subcultures of every stripe, past and present, represent a boundary from which to critique and theorize society at its most fundamental level. Such is the case with Sperm Cult. As its title makes clear, Sperm Cult is an unabashedly phallocentric affair. It features post-industrial herms (Reines & Tuazon); visual hexes and sex magic (Burgher); photographic flights of homosocial and homosexual fantasy in a variety of psychedelic colors (Hawkins/Burgher); filigree fetishes and a witchy chain logotype (garcia); the Salivation Army’s cultic call to arms (Treleaven); and an art historical survey that is less a linear trajectory and more a circle beginning with paleolithic fertility cults and ending with Forrest Bess (Pfeiffer+Walz).