Madison Young

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Madison Young is an artist and activist dedicated to creating space for revolutionary love. This body-based performance artist grew up in the suburban landscape of Southern Ohio before moving to San Francisco in 2000. Since then, this Midwestern gal has dedicated her days to facilitating safe space to dialogue on the topic of fringe identities and cultures as well as documenting healthy expression of sexuality.

Young’s breadth of work, in the realm of her artistic manifestations, intersects the fields of sexuality, identity, and pornography. Her work spans from documenting our sexual culture in her internationally-screened and award-winning feminist erotic films to having served as the Artistic Director of the forward-thinking non-profit arts organization Femina Potens Art Gallery for over a decade.

Young has curated over 200 performance art and visual art exhibitions throughout the country in the past ten years including exhibitions at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Highways Theater in Santa Monica, and The Body Archive in New York City.

Young has exhibited Internationally with her performance art, video art installations, and photography. Young values sexual freedom and self expression of queer identity in her work and has taught workshops, lectures, and acted as a panelist on the topics of sexuality, feminist porn studies, the politics of BDSM and queering the body within the arena of performance art, at institutions including at Yale University, Hampshire College, Northwestern University, University of Toronto, University of Minnesota, and UC Berkeley.

Young’s writings have been published in books such as The Ultimate Guide to Kink; Baby Remember My Name; Rope, Bondage, and Power; Best Sex Writing of 2013; and John’s Marks, Tricks, and Chickenhawks. Her memoir, Daddy, was published in February 2014 through Rare Bird. Madison Young lives and creates work in Berkeley, California where she is working on her second book The DIY Porn Handbook: Documenting Our Own Sexual Revolution(Greenery Press).

Artist Statement

These Walls Don’t Whisper: A Room with a Point of View invites the viewer into the inner sanctum and perspective of Femina Potens’ founder and artistic director Madison Young’s most intimate thoughts, dreams, and imagery that inspired over a decade of radical feminist and queer arts programming including hundreds of visual and performative art exhibitions, spoken word events, film screenings, workshops and panel discussions. Young has created an interactive installation and recreation of her Castro bedroom where she dreamt up the curation of arts programming that created space for artists to explore their limits and boundaries––and where artists, writers and performers found space to tell their uncensored stories in a way that celebrated their expression of self, the diversity of our experiences and the interconnectedness of all life. Utilizing archival video footage, photographs, old posters, notes, journals, written and visual works as well as audio components, Young has constructed a cornucopia of media for viewers to interact with and explore as they sit in a room with a point of view and imagine creating their own alternative spaces for self expression and community building.

Exhibited Work

These Walls Don’t Whisper

DIY installation
dimensions vary

About this Article

This article was originally created as part of SOMArts Cultural Center's Making a Scene: 50 Years of Alternative Bay Area Spaces. To learn how to add or edit content please visit the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism's online History Collection Lab.