My first reaction upon seeing Sydney Phillips Hardin’s “Drill Baby, Drill!,” was: “Finally, somebody has put Sarah Palin’s mouth to good use.” Then, I read her bio, in which she states, “In retaliation, my work takes this marketing of female sexual identity to what I perceive as its logical extremes. These are my interpretations – both sinister and humorous – of the eroticized chimeras to which some look for inspiration, and others look for titillation.” And, I realized that I had just fallen into her trap (Is it chauvinistic of me to suggest that Hardin’s setting a trap for her audience?).
What Hardin has done is taken portraits of cultural icons and turned them into overtly sexualized things, for lack of a better term, that have a very practical, tangible use (hopefully I do not need to elaborate on that use). The message isn’t political or religious. It doesn’t galvanize the audience by affronting their ideologies. It simply calls into question their reaction.
Ultimately, though, Hardin’s stance is rather narrowing. The question must be asked: in regards to Sarah Palin, is it her ability to titillate or to inspire that has vaulted her into the public sphere?
See more at www.sydneyhardin.com.