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, drawing on cultural and political theory, the contemporary art world, and the author’s own experience as a sex worker and artist trying to make a living, Giovannitti argues that if we delve into our anxieties around art and sex, we can instead find new ways to live and spaces, however small, of freedom. When there is nothing left to protect, she argues, everything is possible.
“Highly original and unnervingly smart, Working Girl strips bare the worlds of art work and sex work, revealing unlikely parallels. In Giovannitti's informed and elegant analysis, sex and art come soaked in capitalist relations, their potential for holiness no barrier to the all-encompassing reach of commodification. Working Girl is fascinating in its specificity - the product of Giovannitti's lived experience in a particular niche of both industries - and through this comes a treatise that is both hopeful and new.”