Midori, Explores the Mythic and Masculine in her latest San Francisco photography and rope exhibition – Men In Rope

MEN IN ROPE – photography by Midori

Kink Trailblazer and Genre defying Artist, Midori,Explores the Mythic and Masculine in her latest San Francisco photography and rope exhibition  – Men In Rope – at Madison Young’s NEW Queer Art Gallery & Film Screening Room – The Arbor

The Arbor Gallery is excited to bring you Men In Rope, by Midori. 

Midori’s dramatic photographic images are the result of her collaborations with queer and gay men in the aughts. She worked with her photographic subjects to bring forth fantasies and narratives that made them the heroes (or villains) of their own stories, saying “I wanted to put dreams into form. I was both the interpreter and witness.”

These fantastical photographic narratives fill the walls of the gallery, windows into the masculine and mythic, hinting at stories bigger than our own



September 22 – October 30th, 2022

Opening Reception

September 22 7:00-9:00 pm

Closing Reception

October 30 2:00-4:00pm


The Arbor Gallery

465 S. Van Ness Ave

San Francisco, CA 94103


Glue gun, glitter, antlers, and pig’s blood—as a 90’s club kid in San Francisco’s underground nightlife, Midori created costumes and performances using whatever she could get her hands on. At the same time, in a city ravaged by the AIDS pandemic, she began her studies and community service as a safer sex educator with the encouragement of Dr. Carol Queen and Dr. Robert Lawrence. Art, kink, and sex education weave through her li
She is a queer Japanese American artist and sexologist living in San Francisco. In art, she is a self-taught artist exploring the intersection of performance, visual art, and social practice. Her work spans in size, from a pebble to an entire wing of a museum. She specializes in rescuing and repurposing mixed media and have worked with a range of objects from industrial rope to taxidermy, old kimonos to mementos from queer sex workers.
In performance art, she stages long- and short-term endurance work blending theater, movement, and audience participation involving interactive materials. She has expanded to using Zoom as a participatory art-making medium.
Midori’s work has been shown at San Francisco Asian Art Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Leslie Lohman Museum, SoMArts, Das Arts Amsterdam, Gorilla Gallery Oaxaca, Root Division, Femina Potens, among others. Sainted by The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence as “Saint Wild Side Artiste of the Ties That Bind” 2007 Active member of Asian American Women Artist AssociationAwarded 2022 Humanitarian Award by the American Association of Sex Educators Counselors and Therapists (AASECT)


The Arbor is a brand new San Francisco art gallery and film screening room dedicated to amplifying the voices of queer and transgender narratives in film, television, and visual art. Located at 465 S. Van Ness Ave in San Francisco.
As our country slowly emerges from the trauma and devastation that the pandemic has left on the queer art community of San Francisco, Madison Young has opened the doors of a new home for queer artists and filmmakers – The Arbor, a new art gallery and screening room reinvigorating the Mission District with queer art, performance, and film screenings once again
Madison Young is a sexual revolutionary who has been smashing stigma in the media for two decades, across multiple mediums and platforms including several critically-acclaimed books, their one womxn off-Broadway show, Reveal All Fear Nothing, and directing, hosting and producing the documentary television series, Submission Possible, for Revry TV. 
Young brings their 18 years of experience as a pioneer in the feminist porn movement, along with their award-winning filmmaking and writing talents, to create in a way that reflects the emotional nuance and authentic vulnerability that has become a signature of Young’s work. 
Young has been featured on HBO’s Real Sex and has been profiled for their expertise in feminism, erotic film, and sexuality on Dateline NBC, MTV, Slutever on Viceland, Bravo TV, Alicia Menendez Tonight on Fusion TV, Canal Plus, The New York Times, Savage Love, BBC, Elle Magazine, and Elite Daily just to name a few.
The reach and impact of Young’s writing and filmmaking is deep and has garnered praises from celebrity icons including Margaret Cho, Dave Navarro, and Maggie Gyllenhall, as well as Yale University and Academy Award-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody.

Artist’s Notes on Men In Rope

In the aughts I worked on photos which resulted in two bodies of work. Masculine and Femme. From the larger Masculine series comes “Men in Rope” that you see today.
I wanted to collaborate with queer and gay men, to create dramatic images of them as heroes (or villains) of their own epic stories. 
We would talk about their narrative, a character, or a mood they want to express. This narrative or fantasy of self-expression was often very different than what they would consider their usual sexual fantasies, or what they might share on Grindr.
Their stories spark my imagination and aesthetics. I rope styled them, directed, encouraged, and photographed them.  These shoots were not play scenes between us. Occasionally there would be scenes between the men, beautiful scenes, but even those had a quality of ritual performances. I wanted to put dreams into form. I was both the interpreter and witness.  
As a queer femme leather woman artist, I am in a unique position. I am not their desired sexual object. It changes the dynamic profoundly. The rules of intra-masculine interactions do not enter the set. Perhaps it was easier to talk about or show sides of themselves with me. I hope so.  While in the creative process, I found myself experiencing the men and their bodies and movements as avatars and mythic beings. Even the men who were close personal friends became something other as we worked. I was more than a bit in awe of their manifestations. It was like witnessing ordinary mortals become Wotan, Titus, Lear, or Orpheus.
The range of emotional states expressed or represented were beautiful: Strength. Vulnerability. Resiliency. Transformation. Grief. Power. Tenderness. Devotion. Shadow. Transgression.