‘Clubs that don’t exist anymore’
in Bound together
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Housed in a mobile library and archive, Viola Johnson’s pin sash—a leather garment onto which hundreds of metal pins and buttons have been affixed—spotlights the terms of her expansive leathersexuality. Such a sexuality, for Johnson, is predicated on a notion of service that primarily manifests in the constant upkeep, revising, archiving, and presenting of leather history, through the display and interpretation of her sash and library. After detailing the genesis and social milieu of the Carter/Johnson Leather Library and the significance of pins and buttons in leatherwear more generally, this chapter focuses on a button reading ‘The L.A.P.D. FREED the Slaves April 10, 1976.’ Initially made to protest the raid of a mock slave auction at the Mark IV bathhouse in Los Angeles, the button underscores the dyadic yet fungible terms of freedom and enslavement, and thus the relationships between sexual power-play and non-consensual state violence.

Bound together

Leather, sex, archives, and contemporary art


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