8 EZ Steps by Gusmano Cesaretti at These Days in Downtown Los Angeles

"Eight pinups in a portfolio laced with perfume. Wallet-sized: a barber's New Year's gift slipped into the hands of loyal customers. The secret currencies of men in suits. The kid searches his father's jacket pocket for the prize. Any thumbnail memento promises to make real his world of fantasy. He smells the perfume. In his studio, an artist photographs a friend. The photographs are transferred to screen prints. Her body is abstracted in close-up, her figure fractured by halftone dots. Glossiness is displaced by the rough grain of uncoated paper. A fuzzy sensation becomes direct. The coy touch gets confrontational. Gratification becomes something less certain. As the kid finds pleasure in obscenity, the artist finds it in disorientation and dissonance. They agree on the urge. Peeking and seeing are two different acts, but no one should refuse the right to look. Satisfaction only takes a few steps." A poem by Sam Sweet. 

These never-before-displayed photographs by Italian-born Los Angeles photographer Gusmano Cesaretti represent a departure from the gritty, black-and-white documentary pictures and portraits of Los Angeles subcultures for which he is mainly known. By contrast, this 1979 series delves into the artist’s experiments in abstraction and eroticism. Cesaretti took a progressive series of eight tightly cropped black & white photographs of a woman shaving her pubic hair. He made traditional silver gelatin prints which were then turned into high contrast half tones eliminating any grey scale from the images and rendering them purely in black and white. He furthered the mutation by running the halftones through a mid-70s photocopy machine and adding only the color red or green to the images. The result was a combination of pop art and abstraction, producing a voyeuristic view of an intimate, yet anonymous, grooming ritual. Gusmano Cesaretti "8 EZ Steps" will be on view until January 17, 2016 at These Days in Los Angeles. You can also purchase a monograph of the works here