“Like the Virgin Mary, porn stars are icons. They are a cultural force, but they are rarely thought of as real people. They aren’t expected to have personality or humanity. If we look at them, we don’t really see them.”
Nesgoda re-envisioned various religious episodes, one based on a 1333 Italian painting. She cast a woman named Stephanie Clifford, who at the time called herself Stormy Weathers, as the Virgin Mary. Today, we know her as Stormy Daniels.
Nesgoda’s series is now being shown for the first time ever and given Daniels’s place in headline news, it takes on all sorts of new meaning. The artist told Artnet News,
“For centuries, the treatment of women in artworks was dichotomous. To be a muse, you were either a virgin or a whore.”
Daniels, 23, was unknown as she had just entered the porn industry and was recommended to Nesgoda by a makeup artist, based on her look.
But she didn’t fully realize that the actress she had shot all those years ago was the same “Stormy”. When she did make the connection, she didn’t think much of it until a friend convinced her re-examine the images.
Now Stormy Daniels might just be a sort Virgin Mary/savior for the 21st century. Nesgoda says,
“Here we have a woman who is seen by many as a possible savior to our situation. She’s become an icon. But there are also many who despise her. I’ve heard horrible comments from people about her and what she does.”
Nika Nesgoda: VIRGIN is presented by McNeill Art Group on view through August 29, 2018 at the Spur in Southampton, New York.
(Photos, Nika Nesgoda & McNeill Art Group; via Artnet)