Chris Perez at Ratio 3 on Stevenson Street in San Francisco crafted the perfect summer show out of unwieldy materials—I’m glad I caught “Safe Word” before the controversial exhibit came down this past weekend. It’s not only that the subject was porn that made the show so difficult, but the particular fetish sort of porn it meditated on is always divisive and often combustible.
It was one of those shows that, I guess, just had to happen, ever since the extreme bondage studio Kink.com took over the San Francisco Armory around the corner from Ratio 3 on Mission and 14th. This Mission landmark has puzzled plenty for ages—a vast, cheerless ziggurat of a building, it hailed from an age in which people were seriously worried about getting the shit blown out of them by enemy bombs, or perhaps invasion of the sort that would call for a huge arms depository right smack in the middle of what was then a white collar Irish neighborhood. You look at the building and you feel... More