March 12, 2009
Postmodern, post-fem, post gay—the culture of kink isn't just for old-school, buff, hairy leather daddies anymore. Be them svelte, shaggy, stocky, shorn or straight, men and women of every age, class and background are starting to get in on the action. And taking part in this all-inclusive revolution of fetish fun is the Guest Artist Gallery (G.A.G.) Curator for the Chicago-based Leather Archives & Museum, Ian Ray. It's a movement that Ray, professionally known as S.I.R., attributes in part to the emerging "Neu Guard."
"Neu Guard is more twinks, less daddies," S.I.R defines. "It's pansexual, a non-stereotypical association [allowing] humor into [leather's formally strict] cultural ideal."
"Leather culture isn't just 'gay' leather culture," S.I.R. explains, "but includes the entire fetish community."
Since accepting his position at the LA&M, after receiving his Masters at the School of the Art Institute in May 2008, S.I.R. has taken a lead in the museum's innovative initiative as the G.A.G. gallery's curator. He cites Beauties Service-—a currently running exhibit, produced by straight artist Kate Tastrophe [see related story], which presents portraits of women engaged in everyday activities as both casual conjecture and promiscuity-—as a strong example of how the LA&M actively engages its objective to showcase the full diversity of fetish and sexuality.
Like the Neu Guard, S.I.R says, "It's about playing with limits and colors, changing it up from the establishment of older ideas;" an adaptation of the aforementioned old-school, buff, hairy, leather-daddies world that S.I.R refers to as "Old Guard" with reverence and respect.