Fast-forward 20 years, and “Head Shots” is no less intimidating and salacious; we’re still not completely comfortable with photographs of men’s orgasm-faces. Last year, the Los Angeles gallery JOAN exhibited the full suite of 61 images, the first time they’d hung together since the mid-’90s.
“We were interested in ‘Head Shots,’ at least partially, because of its difficulty, both conceptually and formally,” Rebecca Matalon of JOAN tells me. The gallery had seen the exhibition as an opportunity to “reconsider the questions [the work] raises about sexuality, identity, intimacy, enactment, and visibility,” she says, and what aspects of the work might offer contemporary feminist artistic practices.
At Frieze New York in March of this year, Martos Gallery joined in the “Head Shots” revival, giving its entire booth over to an extended offshoot of the series: 22 rapid-fire outtakes of a rapturous Kelley.