Sex Workers as “Concrete Others”
Possibilities and Perils
This article highlights a recent community engagement project at the Art Gallery of Ontario, for which a small group of former and current sex workers came together to engage in a feminist hack of the institution’s European modern galleries. Drawing on Hamington’s feminist ethics of care, a key component of which is to highlight the experiences of “concrete others” so that they are “no longer known only as abstract agents who are interchangeable with any others,” participants in this study critiqued current label copies accompanying works of art depicting sex workers, and imagined what could be written instead if those with real-life experience in the profession were to interpret these canvasses for the public (Hamington, 2004, p. 43). This article traces the conversations that unfolded as we explored how historical works of art within the museum might serve as a springboard into nuanced discussions about sex work in society today.
Read the full Copyright Notice here.