Touch-me-not M.D.

"Touch-me-not M.D." 1992, at The Newhouse Center for Contemporary Arts, 2’x2’x6’, readymade plaster bust, office chair base, hardware and barbwire.

The assemblage was modeled in two different fashions and was provoked by a sudden increase in reported cases of sexual harassment** in the US workspace and home.

M.D., an abbreviation for medical doctor, here refers to the initials of Marcel Duchamp, famous womanizer and follower of the infamous Marquis De Sade, as well as to his friend and collaborator Man Ray and his breast-shaped book cover "Touch-me".  Venus’s provocative naked bust, proudly towering above the metal skirt connected to “chastity belt” suggests as well as questions the appropriate attire for a business secretary. The lace at the bottom is fashioned out of coiled razor barbwire, typically used for fences and barriers. Every spike is covered with a blood-red glass bead as a reminder of danger from dreams and the verbal or physical conduct of sexual nature.

**The very concept of sexual harassment first surfaced in 1976. It was not until the 1991 confirmation hearings of Justice Clarence Thomas that the concept entered national consciousness. In the year after that hearing, the number of sexual harassment cases filed rose by 50%. Paula Jones’s allegations vs. president Clinton paved the way for more lawsuits with big compensatory awards for punitive damages. Lorena Bobbitt’s acquittal, Monica Lewinsky scandal and the impeachment of President Clinton were big follow-ups to the Jones’ case.