Pornography and the book have long been happy partners, an affinity that Shapiro explores with gusto in his conscious melding of art and erotic illustration. Chacrea is a lovingly assembled volume of erotic drawings featuring women, men, and every shade of gender in-between engaging in futuristic power plays. Shapiro dreams up a sci-fi pageantry of headdresses, veils, loincloths, and Byzantine style accoutrements. The future –as it often does– looks exotic.
In his introduction, Shapiro aims to vouchsafe this bookwork for the category of ‘artist’s book’, quoting André Malraux’ formulation of published books becoming viable alternatives to museums and galleries, “museums without walls.” Participating in this trend, Shapiro uses it to displace pornography into the more public sphere of art and vice versa.
Shapiro’s permissive hurly-burly works to breach many cultural, biological, and cosmic binaries: museum and book, past and future, art and pornography, male and female. Even ethnicity, age, and physical handicaps cease to be points of societal discord, but–as he describes with obvious relish–‘spices’ for the erotic scenario. Reminding us that sexual fantasy has a penchant for alterity and the particular, a difference that the mainstream does not accommodate.