Earth loving with Annie Sprinkle and Elizabeth Stephens


By Juliette Tang

Annie Sprinkle and Elizabeth Stephens

Local artists Annie Sprinkle (whose resume also includes sex educator, writer, and appearances in more than 200 pornographic films) and Elizabeth Stephens (Professor of Fine Arts at Porter College, current Chair of the UCSC Art Department) are married to more than just one another. Following a declaration of vows in Calgary two years ago, Sprinkle and Stephens set the remainder of their marital ambitions on our planet's ecology. Three whirlwind courtships later, the two women are now jointly married to the earth in Zagreb, the stretch of sky over Oxford, and the sea in Venice. A chronicle of their romantic pursuits can be found at their website LoveArtLab.

This past Sunday, I attended the opening reception of their new month-long installation and exhibit at Femina Potens (2199 Market St) titled "Sexecology: Making love with the Earth, Sky, and Sea". The artists coined the term "sexecology" to describe the overlaps in sexology and ecology, which includes the practice of "taking the earth as their lover." This custom, otherwise weird and New Agey, should surprise no one who's lived in the Bay Area for any amount of time.

Anyone care for some disco?

Wedding ephemera

The installation was an expression of the sexecological vision of its two artists. Environmentally-themed photographs and artwork (some of which included penises drawn on maps) by Sprinkle and Stephens were displayed on the gallery walls, along with scrapbook-type collages of wedding invitations, notes, and photos from their sexecological wedding ceremonies. A makeshift tree was erected from a beam in the center of the room, and paper-mache orbs, decorated with bits of greenish tiles and glass, dangled overhead. At first I thought they were intended to evoke wasp nests, which are also round and hang from trees, but upon closer inspection I decided they were probably nature-themed disco balls. An antique cabinet displayed selected wedding ephemera: the usual suspects of shoes, accessories, and decorative curios, albeit in color schemes based off the 7 chakra system.

Sky wedding dresses

The artists' vision is certainly kooky, but singularly their own.