A SUNDAY TIMES, TELEGRAPH, ROUGH TRADE, PITCHFORK AND UNCUT MUSIC BOOK OF THE YEAR
Art Sex Music is the autobiography of a musician who, as a founding member of the avant-garde group Throbbing Gristle and electronic pioneers Chris & Cosey, has consistently challenged the boundaries of music over the past four decades.
It is the account of an artist who, as part of COUM Transmissions, represented Britain at the IXth Biennale de Paris, whose Prostitution show at the ICA in 1976 caused the Conservative MP Nicholas Fairbairn to declare her, COUM and Throbbing Gristle 'Wreckers of Civilisation' . . . shortly before he was arrested for indecent exposure, and whose work continues to be held at the vanguard of contemporary art.
And it is the story of her work as a pornographic model and striptease artiste which challenged assumptions about morality, erotica and art.
Art Sex Music is the wise, shocking and elegant autobiography of Cosey Fanni Tutti.
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Number of pages: 512
Weight: 726 g
Dimensions: 234 x 153 x 36 mm
"The female half of the alternative music group Chris and Cosey reveals the "harsh and definitely not rose-tinted view of my past." Drawing on her library of diaries, musician and performance artist Tutti's autobiography is an apt reflection of her daring, lifelong restlessness and creative ambition. Born in 1951 in Kingston upon Hull, known during post-World War II Europe as the "most violent city in England," Tutti was raised in a strict household, and her mother's singing voice and father's penchant for electronics "fed and formed my notions of music and sound." As her mischievous nature emerged, so did the 1960s counterculture in music, art, TV, and other areas. The author went on to co-found the COUM Transmissions art collective and broadened their productions to incorporate prop and dance elements that expanded into controversial commissioned installations on sex and prostitution, including an esteemed exhibition for the British Council. Tutti's experiences in the stripping and pornography industries inspire pages of brazen, provocative anecdotes that fans will devour. All of these experiments in expression led the author to a passionate coupling with fellow artist Chris Carter and the development of the bands Throbbing Gristle in the 1970s and then Chris and Cosey in the artistic bacchanal of the 1980s. All of these historic events are lavishly and painstakingly detailed, much like the intriguingly written diaries they are culled from. Tutti clearly takes great delight in sharing the roller-coaster emotions experienced within each era and how particular watershed moments shaped her as an artist and an independent woman. Most impressive is the author's reflection on the decisions that defined her and her personal and professional relationship with Carter that, to this day, has managed to survive culture shifts, age, health scares, and the evolutions of both the music industry and their fan base. Without a hint of regret, Tutti bares all in the name of art and personal integrity. A bravura rock memoir vibrating with fierce and fearless memories--a must-have item for Chris and Cosey and Throbbing Gristle fans."
-- Kirkus Reviews (Starred)
"Tutti's memoir, Art Sex Music, lives up to her promise, brilliantly elucidating the 65-year-old's complex career as one of the founders of industrial music with Throbbing Gristle in the late '70s, and an acclaimed performance artist who used her body to probe the dynamics of pornography and S&M.... Art Sex Music lacks a satisfying conclusion because Tutti's work is ongoing. For her, "industrial" was a way of life, rather than a sound -- "to be independent, active, productive, thorough, and committed." She hasn't wavered from it. For her followers, the comprehensive Art Sex Music will feel biblical. For anyone who can't stomach her art, this memoir is a rigorous extension of Tutti's art-as-life philosophy in its most accessible form." --MTV Online
"If Viv Albertine's 2014 memoir Clothes Music Boys offered a woman's revelatory perspective on punk, then Cosey Fanni Tutti's Art Sex Music does the same for industrial, the genre she helped invent as part of Throbbing Gristle. This wasn't, she explains, just an unsettling sound but a way of life, a form of liberation that took her from a schoolgirl oppressed by her domineering father in Hull to an internationally recognized artist of the avant-garde: a way "to be independent, active, thorough, and committed." TG were defiantly underground until the mainstream caught wind; for this ethos, and their explicit exhibition at London's ICA, they were deemed "wreckers of civilization" by Tory politicians in 1976.
Outside of the band, this dynamic underpinned Cosey's revolutionary artworks. She started out making mail art, compiling collages from porn magazines and sending them through the post. But she realized that for her work to be truly authentic, she couldn't rely on images of other women's bodies, and started putting her own into the frame: in her own erotic photo shoots, in commercial pornography films and magazines, and as a dancer. "My life is my art," she writes. "My art is my life."
Cosey is a funny, lucid writer, who describes bathing her infant son in one breath and participating in a faux lesbian act the next with no distinction between the satisfaction they gave her. Her self-assurance and sheer dedication to her work show up her bandmate and early lover Genesis P-Orridge (who uses the pronoun h/er) as a charlatan. Though Cosey unsparingly describes h/er attempts to kill her by throwing a cinderblock from a balcony, the accounts of h/er mewling petulance might be more damning to P-Orridge's supposedly transgressive reputation. Art Sex Music is a book for the ages--it doesn't just illuminate Cosey's personal liberation but how her work loosened Britain's staid mores, too."
--Pitchfork, named one of the Best Music Books of 2017