Karley Sciortino

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Karley Sciortino photographed by Tyrone Lebon.

Karley Sciortino is the author of Breathless, Vogue’s sex and relationship column, and the creator of Slutever.com.

Your writing explores sexuality and relationships in a way that blends seamlessly with references to fashion, art, and film. What role does contemporary art play in your inspirations?

I think I’m more influenced by the people who make art than by the art itself. Sure, I like art, of course, but I don’t know that much about art. I love artists, because it’s such an abstract profession—it just amazes me that anyone does it. Really. It takes such confidence, I think, to create something that is arguably “unnecessary”—that has no objective function or purpose—and then to essentially say, “Hey everyone, look at this thing I made.” That’s not easy. I don’t think I could do that. I’m too practical. So, I love being around artists because I genuinely think they’re bizarre people. I wrote my first movie a couple years ago—hopefully it’s shooting early next year but who really knows—and it’s about a contemporary artist, and he’s basically a composite character of all my artist friends.

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Karley featured in Richard Prince, Untitled (Portrait), 2014

Earlier this year, a photograph of you was featured in Richard Prince’s New Portraits series at Gagosian Gallery, Karley by Rebecca Dayan is currently on view at Catherine Ahnell Gallery, and you posed for Matthew Stone in 2006. Can you tell us about those experiences? What is it like to be immortalized in someone’s oeuvre?

I met Matthew Stone when I was 18 and he was really influential to me—both his artwork, and just Matthew as a person. He was just so free—that sounds cheesy, but I can’t really think of a better way to explain it. We became really close and he soon invited me to move into the art-squat/commune-warehouse that he was living in. We lived together for a few years after that, and he would always be talking about art, and the importance of collaboration and being part of an artistic community. Being with him taught me that the most inspiring thing is to surround yourself with creative, interesting, unique people. Of course things like reading, looking at art and being present in the world are all important for inspiration, but for me, personally, I find that people and conversations are my real “muses,” so to speak. I love people who can talk. Good talkers are my favorite people. I only befriend and I only fuck good talkers.

But anyway, yes, I love being art! It makes me feel cool, duh. Some people were really pissed off about Richard Prince’s Instagram portraits, but I was really honored to be in the project. When I was younger I posed nude for Matthew for years, mainly because I didn’t have a job and he would shoot in our house, so I was just always around with nothing to do. And always willing to take my clothes off, which helped. It felt really great to be part of his creative process. He always made the photographs feel far more like a collaboration than an artist/subject divide, so that idea has stayed with me, and I delusionally think that the role of the muse is more significant than it is.

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Karley during her Frieze London 2007 performance wherein she washed Richard Prince's Dodge Challenger for 5 days

You collaborate often with other artists whether it’s through interviews, film, or photography. Who is an artist making working that you’re excited about and you would like to work with in the future?

I love Alex Da Corte. He’s a genius. The sexy, surreal dream world that he created inside Luxembourg Dayan was my favorite piece of art I’ve seen in years. I also like Juliana Huxtable—she’s very smart and provocative. And I’m a fan of Jeanette Hayes, Petra Collins, Matthew Stone and Richard Prince.

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Karley featured in Matthew Stone, Body Language

Do you live with artwork? If so, by which artists?

Coincidentally, the first artwork I ever bought for myself was a print by Jeanette Hayes from Exhibition A. It’s her piece Come si dice: Webcam Girls, a photorealistic oil painting of the Virgin Mary as the lock-screen wallpaper of an iPhone, from her Botticelli Photobooth series. I’m such a fan of Jeanette’s—she’s a friend, but I’m also definitely her fan. I love that her work is a mash-up of high and low culture. It’s trashy-profound. Also, she’s so technically skilled, and I care about that. Maybe it’s not sophisticated to say, but I’m not the biggest fan of conceptual art; I prefer art that demonstrates skill. And art that’s beautiful, which Jeanette’s art is. Call me old fashioned, but I like beauty.

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Jeanette Hayes, Come se dice: Webcam girls, 2014, archival inkjet print

I have a Matthew Stone photograph hanging in my apartment. It’s a black and white image of two entangled bodies—a boy and a girl—in a dark field. The girl in the photo is actually me, but you can’t see my face or tell that it’s me, so I feel like it’s not so creepy to have hanging next to my bed. There’s also a photo by Stacey Mark—it’s a sexy image of a girl standing in a motel in LA. I love Stacey’s work. It’s very erotic and 70s-Playboy-esque, but without being male-gazey or exploitative. And lastly, I have a Richard Prince print of a pulp novel cover, in my bedroom. It’s a woman screaming. It’s darkly funny… like most of his work, I guess. I love that about him.

I also have some framed New Yorker covers from the 50s hanging in my living room. Is that art? I love them.

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Matthew Stone, Infructescence

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