Sex Work and Visual Culture

Common Ground Series

Sex Work and Visual Culture

Employing artist Christopher Mason’s photographs of sex workers in Cleveland and communities in Northeast Ohio as a starting point, the panelists will discuss social practice photography, public representations and perceptions of sex workers, voyeurism, and sex workers’ labor and humanitarian rights.

This panel will include: Barbara Tannenbaum, PhD, chair of the prints, drawings, and photographs and curator of photography at the Cleveland Museum of Art; Cleveland-based photographer Christopher Mason; and Penelope Saunders, PhD, executive director of the Best Practices Policy Project, a national policy platform dedicated to the health and rights of sex workers.

NOTE: This panel discussion was put in place before the tragic Atlanta killings of massage workers and customers. The majority of the victims were women of Asian descent. We’re devastated by this and the ongoing racialized aggressions faced by the Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. We stand in solidarity with Red Canary Song's message. And while massage work and sex work are separate, we hope you’ll also visit the Best Practices Policy Project for a wealth of resources on issues relating to sex-work law reform, gender-based violence, AIDS policy organizing and so much more. We originally planned the basis of this talk around the visuality of sex work in art and culture, so while we will address the murders in Atlanta, that incident will not be the focus of this conversation.

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Image: Christopher Mason, Female sex worker on Euclid Avenue, East Cleveland, OH, Archival Inkjet Prints, 16 x 9 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Sponsored By
William Rolland Gallery of Fine Art


Rachel Schmid