IF HUMILIATION AND SWEET ABJECTION disturb you, then feel free to skip out on the next nine pages of black-and-white ravishments. In print for the first time are inspired scenes of bondage, discipline, dominance, and subjection from Jimmy DeSana’s 1978 series “The Dungeon.” These are early works from a brilliant and still undersung artist, whose much anticipated survey, “Jimmy DeSana: Submission”—curated by Drew Sawyer in conversation with the executor of DeSana’s estate, Laurie Simmons—opens this month at the Brooklyn Museum.
The “Dungeon” pictures were made in collaboration with writer and dominatrix Terence Sellers, shown snapped out on (Fire Island?) beaches or caught in the beam of a single incandescent light in her East Fifty-First Street apartment in DeSana’s signature supranormal style. Sex works because sex sells: The photos capture Sellers and her clients before, during, and after various epicurean tortures. There are leather and latex gloves, masks, and other kinky accoutrements; shibari, asphyxiation, flagellation; pup play and hovering high heels; and, at the work’s most fluid, genital bloodletting. In several of the beach scenes, Sellers shows up in a white suit jacket and white pleated skirt wearing oversize sunglasses. At her mercy is a skinny, glabrous hunk named Marco. She takes out a match and DeSana seizes her midstrike, lighting up her fag.