F*ck Art

[nivoslider id=”2267″]

Show Description:
In response to the growing anti-institution sentiment pervasive in our culture, the Museum of Sex has engaged a group of 20 select street artists to occupy the third floor gallery at the Museum of Sex. Showcasing work that pushes the boundaries of our relationship to sexuality in public space, F*CK ART invites a dialogue around the power of visual provocation in the urban environment.

This installation is a combination of existing pieces and site-specific works created for the run of the show.

F*CK ART is curated by Emilie Baltz and Mark Snyder.

Chief Advisors Meghan Coleman and Alex Tanaka.

Objective:
We seek to provoke not simply the notions of museum-going experience by presenting provocative work, but also push the boundaries of what artists can create. This is not an exhibition for the timid, and we have engaged artists to use this space as a forum to create and present critical, provocative commentary around sexuality and its relationship to both human and cultural identity.

Highlights:
Upon entrance into the Fifth Avenue lobby, visitors will encounter the 14-foot FUCK BIKE #001 by Andrew H. Shirley & William Thomas Porter, as well as a display of The Future Tools Collection, a series of resurfaced/re-imagined sex toys by Wonderpuss Octopus. Cassius Fouler’s We’re F*cked wall of playfully explicit food-related iconography will lead visitors down to the Oral Fix Bar on the lower level of the Museum.

Upstairs in the gallery, Miss Van’s ultra-sensual, female figures are represented by a pair of her Twinkles paintings which flank The Magic Box, a hand-crafted illuminated wooden and velvet box complete with an oval painting inside that was created uniquely for the F*CK ART show.

Selections from Berlin-based street artist MODE 2’s one day painting installation on cardboard, “Urban Affairs Extended”, are on view next to ROSTARR’s Nation of Millions, a 113-inch canvas. Across the gallery, JMR’s abstract and colorful The Adventures of Hand Solo is presented alongside a wall by DROID, GEN 2 and OZE 108 of the 907 Crew. Six acrylic-on-plexi pieces by El Celso are mounted next to a fantasy Playboy alien installation by Patch Whisky.

Coming out of retirement for the show, the notorious DICKCHICKEN installs Dreams of Childhood, a wheatpaste wallpaper, hung with three acrylic and oil works on panel: ChickenDick, PollaPollo and Tribute to Keith.

Mixing contemporary American art movements and traditional Japanese aesthetics, the international street artist AIKO creates a full wall and object installation along the far side of the gallery. Across the room, San Francisco-based artist Jeremy Novy’s unique stencils of gay imagery create a counterpoint to AIKO’s feminine visuals with a series of stencil-on-panel and wheatpasted wallpaper.

Tony Bones’ life-sized wood-panel cutouts, WOLFTITS’ painted wolf-rug and B-rad Izzy’s blown up classified ads will also be on view next to RTTP, a collaboration between artists Nathan Vincent & Bryan Raughton. This duo explores the desires of men-seeking-men on Craigslist with a series of stickers and found panels which showcase their collection of “private desire” drawings pasted in the streets of New York.

Rounding out the group, the self-described “world’s premier graffiti asshole,” Australian artist LUSH, paints a site-specific wall complete with an interactive ice cream cart.

Participating Artists:

Universe of Desire

Type. Swipe. Search. Upload. Download. Post. Stream. These are the new verbs of desire. Our most intimate thoughts, fantasies, and urges are now transmitted via electronic devices to rapt audiences all over the world. These transmissions—from sexts to webcam masturbation feeds—are anonymous yet personal, individual yet collective, everywhere and nowhere, and they are contributing to the largest sexual record to date. In short, desire has gone viral. But what does this mean? And what does it reveal about us? This exhibition explores these very questions through a lens of digital experience by examining what we are searching for, how we do it and what we leave behind on these electronic devices. In piecing this together, we begin to expose staggering truths about who we are and how we interact in this ever-changing world of modern sexuality.

“As human behavior becomes more clickable than physical, we can’t help but wonder what this means for our most basic, biological impulse: sex.” says Mark Snyder, Director of Exhibitions and Co-Curator of “Universe of Desire.” The exhibition explores this very question by examining what we actually search for on the internet and what we leave behind.

Neuroscientists Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam, authors of the best-selling book, A Billion Wicked Thoughts, provide much of the inspiration for “Universe of Desire.” Ogas and Gaddam gathered and coded 400 million internet searches, 55 million of which (or roughly 13 percent) proved to be searches for some kind of erotic content. The findings mined from analyzing the internet habits of tens of millions of people worldwide will be on display in “Universe of Desire.”

These anonymous searches bring to question our identity by revealing both the expected “kinks” and “squicks” (squirm-inducing kinks), as well as the broad categories of shared desire that account for 80 percent of internet searches, including “cheating partners”, “youth”, “mature” and various genitalia. Confronted with this research we begin to see just how similar and different we all are as humans.

Supporting this content is a variety of media that amplifies and humanizes the scientific findings of A Billion Wicked Thoughts. Showcasing artifacts from Science, Culture, Art and Technology, Universe of Desire explores the virtual cataloging of our sexual wants, infatuations and yearnings by walking patrons through the kind of sex we, as humans, look up on the internet.

Photographer Natacha Merritt, author of Digital Diaries, has documented herself digitally for the last 14 years. As one of the first photographers to capture erotic imagery in a digital medium, a selection of this pioneering artist’s work is exhibited for the first time in its chronology, offering a visual timeline as example of photographic evolution, serving both as record and expression of our sexual desires through the last decade.

Further exploring the relationship between digital imagery and sexual fantasy, visitors to “Universe of Desire” are invited to engage with a series of video and interactive experiences. Highlights include a digital mirror created by Kevin Bleich and Gabriela Gutiérrez which literally deconstructs patrons into pixels, and projects avatars of their “digital selves” onto the walls of the gallery, while an interactive video collage from Johnny Woods lures visitors into a virtual romp of sexual artifacts designed to stimulate, provoke and delight audiences.

Additional artwork and artifacts from Science, Culture, Art and Technology include selections from The Sex Diaries Project: What We’re Saying About What We’re Doing by Arianne Cohen, a larger-than-life Facebook conversation between Rep. Anthony Weiner and Blackjack Dealer Lisa Weiss, and a giant patchwork quilt of facial expressions by Laura McMillian + Kristin Reger, ripped from beautifulagony.com, a user-generated site that invites contributors to upload images of their faces in the midst of orgasm.

Additional artwork and contributions have been provided by Dirty Pillowz, Jesse Edwards, Hiroshi Kumagai, Tony Moriello, Janos Stone, PornHub and Wasteland.

Comics Stripped

[nivoslider id=”1142″]

Comics Stripped examines the history and cultural significance of the illustrators, icons and images that have entertained and educated (as well as equally misinformed) the basics of sex. From the coquettish to the most explicit “dirty drawings,” the exhibit presents the ultimate homage to sexual fantasy uninhibited by the constraints of reality.

From simple titillation to hardcore representations, comics have a long history of incorporating humor, scandal, fantasy and fun with sex. Originally used as a form of amusement and satire intended for adults, the societal perception of comics as wholesome entertainment geared toward children has made the inclusion of sexual content particularly jarring.[pullquote]“If I don’t have an erection when I’m doing a drawing, I know it’s no good.”[/pullquote]

In recent years comics as a media has grown into a potent, dynamic and sometimes subversive form of art, worthy of academic investigation. Comics focused on erotic subjects are no exception, and tend to fall into two popular narratives: one uses familiar – sometimes mainstream – icons in “compromising” sexual situations, while the other constructs sexual encounters, acts and personas that cannot exist in reality and are constrained only by the illustrator’s imagination. For some, even the creation of erotic comics is a sexually charged experience, particularly if the sexual fantasy is in some way inaccessible in reality. As Tom of Finland famously said, “If I don’t have an erection when I’m doing a drawing, I know it’s no good.” Whether mass-produced or created as individual works of art, erotic comics are a reflection of society and unabashed sexual fantasy, where every sexual act ever performed or imagined exists.

Simpson Playboy
In showcasing the coquettish to the most sexually explicit “dirty drawings,” Comics Stripped will examine the history and cultural significance of the images, icons and illustrators that have entertained, educated (as well as equally misinformed) on the basics of sex and created a realm of sexual fantasy unlimited by the constraints of reality for generations.

Exhibition Credits

  • Craig Yoe – Curator
  • Sarah Forbes – Curator, Museum of Sex
  • Mark Snyder – Creative Director, Museum of Sex
  • OCD Agency – Exhibition Design

Lenders

  • Colleen Coover
  • Howard Cruse
  • Jessica Fink
  • Danny Hellman
  • Alan Kaplan
  • Playboy Enterprises, Inc.
  • J.B. Rund
  • Eric F. Sack
  • Stanton Family Collection
  • Tom of Finland Foundation
  • Dean Yeagle
  • Craig Yoe

Obscene Diary

[nivoslider slug=”obscene”]

In Obscene Diary, the rich sexual documentation of one remarkable individual, a professor, tattoo artist, pornographer and sexual record keeper, Samuel Steward will be unveiled. Steward’s self documentation included a catalogue of every partner and sex act, illustrated through photos, diary entries, sexual record keeping, explicit drawings and erotic literary musings.

In Obscene Diary: The Secret Archive of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist and Pornographer, the intimate sexual record-keeping of one individual is unveiled for all to see. Steward’s self-documentation includes a catalogue of every partner and each sex act performed, recorded through diary entries, photos, explicit drawings and erotic literary musings.
[pullquote]”…the intimate sexual record-keeping of one individual is unveiled for all to see.”[/pullquote]

Recovered from a San Francisco attic in 2001, Samuel Steward’s preserved archive recently formed the basis of the widely acclaimed biography, Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist, and Sexual Renegade, which was a finalist for the 2010 National Book Award. The biography provides an amazing portrait of not only Samuel Steward, but of an entire generation of men who lived in the years before Stonewall, when it was dangerous to be openly homosexual. Presented to the public for the first and only time before its donation to a special collections library, this comprehensive group of artifacts from the Steward Archive forms the core of the exhibition.

Using a variety of textures and wall treatments, the exhibition features a replication of Steward’s own attic apartment and asks patrons to imagine what it would look like if their own sexual histories were documented so completely. And, perhaps more socially relevant: what would this say about the times in which we live?

Exhibition Credits

  • Justin Spring, Curator
  • Sarah Forbes, Curator, Museum of Sex
  • Mark Snyder, Director of Exhibitions, Museum of Sex
  • Emilie Baltz, Creative Director, Museum of Sex
  • Daniel Colon, Mural Artist
  • Harrison Apple, AV Editing
  • Jose Garcia Huidobro, Wall Treatments
  • Munire Kirmaci, Wall Treatments
  • Vera Apuzen, Wall Treatments
  • Cheungyoon Kim, Design Intern
  • Kimberly Kulka, Design Intern

Lovers from the Hereafter

[nivoslider id=”1201″]

Lovers from the Hereafter by Jean-Marc Laroche

Jean-Marc Laroche’s sculptures titled, “Lovers from the Hereafter” will be on display at the Museum of Sex for one month beginning October 5, 2011 and ending after Halloween on November 4, 2011.

Sculptor Jean-Marc Laroche shares with us his fantasy of eternal life with the installation, “Lovers from the Hereafter,” featuring intertwining skeletons embracing one another. The installation will be on view at the Museum of Sex beginning October 5th, 2011 and includes two human-sized sculptures made of varnished resin and jointed with an invisible steel framework – an effect which resembles real bones. With regards to the “Lovers from the Hereafter” sculptures, Jean-Marc said, “They are themselves quite joyful and they thumb their noses at death and present the afterlife as a roll in the hay.”

Throughout his career as a sculptor, he has created several erotic, sensual works, which have been brought together for this installation. Born in Paris in 1959, Jean-Marc Laroche began his career as a sculptor in the early 1990s. Very much marked by the world of cinematography, he has exhibited at the Avoriaz and Brussels fantasy film festivals several times, where his work has met with great public success and caught the attention of directors and producers worldwide.

The one month long installation at the Museum of Sex is sponsored by The Evolution Store in SoHo. Bill Stevens, Owner of The Evolution store said, “The Evolution Store is always on the lookout for items that encapsulate our passion for science and art and partnering with the Museum of Sex is a wonderful opportunity to showcase Jean-Marc Laroche’s work and our unique take on the role of natural history in the modern world.”

ABOUT THE EVOLUTION STORE
The Evolution Store has been a landmark destination in Manhattan’s SoHo art district since 1993 and it is easily recognizable from its skull banner and model skeleton hanging outside. The products in the store range from insects and fossils to minerals and animal skeletons. The store features an entomology workshop run by experts and their sales personnel are helpful, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic. The Evolution Store’s clientele includes museums, universities, private collectors, nature enthusiasts, interior decorators, and photographers.Additional Jean-Marc Laroche pieces are on display at The Evolution Store. http://theevolutionstore.com

SPONSOR
The Evolution Store

ARTIST
Jean-Marc Laroche

The Nudie Artist: Burlesque Revived

[nivoslider id=”1160″]

Burlesque is a form of American folk art/theater built on seduction and humor. Descended from risqué European dance traditions and comedic-theatric vaudeville, traditional American burlesque was a travelling circus of bedazzled sexuality, often overlooked in the official history of this country’s sexual and theatrical past. Burlesque’s golden age, traditionally considered to be the 1930s, provided an important pastime of affordable pleasure during the otherwise bleak Great Depression.

Burlesque is a form of American folk art/theater built on seduction and humor. Descended from risqué European dance traditions and comedic-theatric vaudeville, traditional American burlesque was a travelling circus of bedazzled sexuality, often overlooked in the official history of this country’s sexual and theatrical past. Burlesque’s golden age, traditionally considered to be the 1930s, provided an important pastime of affordable pleasure during the otherwise bleak Great Depression. Performers, often drawn to burlesque for economic reasons, “stripped” and “teased” a typically male-dominated audience with the exposure of as much skin legally permitted at the time.

Beginning in the mid 1990s, a revival of this performative art form has taken place in both New York and Los Angeles and, in recent years, grown into a worldwide movement. While contemporary burlesque performers draw upon the craft of their predecessors to create art that centers around the sexual body, using the removal of clothing to make social and political commentary, they also have new intentions and objectives. Now, more so than ever, performers celebrate creative self-expression that promotes a culture of female sexual empowerment and body appreciation. This exciting synthesis of nostalgic glamour and contemporary sensibilities has exploded into a new art form, captivating artists, designers, filmmakers, journalists, performers and audiences alike.

The exhibition featured select artifacts from the 1880s to the 1950s, modern works of art from burlesque photographer Leland Bobbé, illustrations from contemporary artist Luma Rouge and footage from Behind the Burly Q, a film by Leslie Zemeckis. The Nudie Artist: Burlesque Revived allowed visitors to peek inside the world of burlesque and see the performance art from a personal angle. Inspiring artwork, personal photos, handmade costumes and rare footage provided a glimpse into the past life of an art form that is experiencing a present-day resurgence.

The Sex Lives of Animals

[nivoslider slug=”animals-2″]

The Sex Lives of Animals considers the tremendous complexity of animal sexual behavior. The exhibition also posits new interpretations of developing research, such as the evolutionary benefits of non-reproductive sex for both individuals and social groups within the animal kingdom.

Sex is more than a biological drive to reproduce: emergent research in the zoological field of ethology – the study of animal behavior – reveals that animals participate in an astonishing array of non-reproductive sexual behaviors. Surprisingly, all conceivable sexual partnerships and sex acts exist, from foreplay to post-coital cuddling: animals engage in kissing, hugging, self and mutual stimulation, oral sex and every kind of penetrative intercourse imaginable. Sex in the animal kingdom is as multifarious and nuanced as it is in the human realm; and sex-for-pleasure, it seems, is not just restricted to Homo sapiens.

[pullquote]“…animals engage in kissing, hugging, self and mutual stimulation, oral sex and every kind of penetrative intercourse imaginable.”[/pullquote]

To visually realize these concepts, the exhibition showcases life-sized animal sculptures created by Rune Olsen. The Museum of Sex specifically commissioned these pieces due to the artist’s ability to convey the intensity and urgency of instinctual behavior that is both arousing and transformative. Composed of the “social materials” of newspaper and tape, the sculptures explore the physical world with the immediacy and expressiveness of hand drawing. Interestingly, Olsen’s animals all incorporate anatomically-incorrect, human, glass eyes, which further juxtapose the shared instincts and urges of humans and animals.

In this “new natural history” the Museum of Sex presents an uncensored story of the birds and the bees, moving animal sexuality beyond the confines of reproduction and mating, towards discussions of orientation and cognition. The Museum invites patrons to explore the most intimate part of the natural lifecycle, where it is often said we are most animal-like, and apply these concepts to larger issues regarding sexuality in general.

Rubbers: The Life History and Struggle of the Condom

[nivoslider slug=”rubbers”]

The Museum of Sex, in partnership with the makers of Trojan Brand Condoms, made safe sex sexy again with Rubbers: the Life, History & Struggle of the Condom, a detailed look into the provocative life of the condom. The exhibition took a fun, functional, and fundamental look at the history and progression of the condom from a single object to its role as a multidisciplinary artifact. Influencing everything from science and art to politics and religion, the condom, which has remained at the epicenter of debate since its inception, rose from its humble beginnings to become a barometer of morality and a savior in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

[pullquote]”Exploring how one small object revolutionized contraception, protection, and everything in-between.”[/pullquote]

Ribbed, flavored, and studded, contemporary condoms have undergone a monumental transformation from their early linen incarnations; now customizable sizes, shapes, and textures not only promote safety, but equally enhance pleasure. This exhibition traces the life and history of the condom from creation and quality-controlled testing to its integral role in safe sex campaigns to its historical and continued status as an emblem of both promiscuity and responsibility. Simultaneously lauded for its ability to combat the transmission of deadly diseases while also condemned by some for its contraceptive qualities, the condom has become the forerunner in moral debates regarding contraception and protection. Through artifacts, art, photography, historical ephemera, and film, patrons explored the epic impact the condom has had upon our society, morality, and health.

Rubbers featured artifacts from vintage photographs of sexually transmitted diseases to military signage campaigning for the sexual safety of soldiers to a wide array of antique condoms, tins, and dispensers. Highlights of the exhibition included conceptual art pieces such as the cruel condom, a condom crafted entirely out of chainmail and covered with spikes and Franco B’s resin condom sculpture assembled from gritty used condoms taken from the floor and trash of the infamous FIST nightclub in London. The exhibition also included Adriana Bertini’s couture condom cocktail dress, made from 1200 hand dyed condoms and fashioned after the Valentino dresses of the 1960s, trendy and contemporary condoms from renowned designers such as Marc Jacobs, and Condoments by WeMake, functional salt and pepper shakers designed and molded after condoms.

Action: Sex and the Moving Image

[nivoslider slug=”action”]

We live in a highly visual culture: we are presented with representational impressions and images hundreds, if not thousands, of times each day, often to the point of sensory overload. The impact of these visual images resonates in every facet of our lives, contributing to how we interact with and interpret the world around us; it shapes our opinions, creative output and desires. Images also clearly serve as a driving force behind our decisions about what to buy, what to believe, what to value, where to go and which people and relationships are worth our time and energy. The most widely-used, persuasive images of all are indisputably those pertaining to sex. Sexual and sensual imagery abounds in commercials, music videos, television shows, mainstream film and on the web. Ignoring the intriguing, suggestive and titillating influence of these images is nearly impossible…but, more importantly, why should we?

Sex in and on film directly propelled the development of private video technology for the masses, including VCR and DVD players; and, within the past few decades the Internet has made sexual imagery more instantaneously-accessible than ever. No matter how much it is discussed, denounced and demonized, however, images of sex – in films, on television sets, on computer screens and now on mobile devices – are an increasing everyday facet of modern culture.

Sex, nudity, and even innuendo have always been highly contentious topics of public discourse and debate. In fact, throughout the history of the “moving image” legislation has not only dictated what filmmakers could legally create, but also mandated what people were “allowed” to see. Those deeming subject matter as obscene or immoral have edited, censored, banned and even destroyed films with sexual content. Action: Sex and the Moving Image surveys the controversial history of sex and the moving image over more than 150 years, featuring everything from the subtle sexual metaphors in mainstream films like Dracula (1931) to the unsimulated sex scenes in independently-funded films like Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (1971), from the “sexploitation” films of the 1950s to the “porno chic” era that made Deep Throat (1972) and Debbie Does Dallas (1978) legendary, from the emergence/acceptance of same-sex pornography to contemporary celebrity “home-made” porn such as One Night in Paris (2004). Using multiple screens and light-boxes, this exhibition exposes the most influential and provocative sexual images caught on cinematic camera.

Naked Ambition

[nivoslider slug=”nakedam”]

Naked Ambition spotlighted the work of renowned celebrity photographer and former photo journalist Michael Grecco as he revealed the whirlwind spectacle of the AVN Awards in Las Vegas, often referred to as the “Oscars of Porn”. Featuring over 50 prints of Grecco’s work, also included in the photography book Naked Ambition: an R-Rated Look at an X-Rated Industry, the exhibition drew upon Grecco’s still-life photography and portraiture to expose the raw realism, mainstream appeal, and inherent glamour of the adult industry.

Grecco’s photography goes beyond the over-the-top sexuality that the industry is known for, and instead gets to its essence by revealing humor, personality, charm, and affability. In dealing with the subject of sex, particularly the porn industry, it would have been easy to rely on sensationalism and titillation. Instead, Grecco captured the grit, glitter, and spirit of the adult industry’s performers, icons, fans and spectators allowing the viewer to personally connect with them as everyday people, with extraordinary jobs.

This exhibition infused Grecco’s photographs with the words and character of those being photographed as well as capturing a behind-the-scenes look at their voices, thoughts, and insecurities with his companion documentary film, also entitled Naked Ambition. By displaying another aspect of the adult industry, often stereotyped as heavy on titillation and light on depth, Naked Ambition allowed people outside of the community immediate access to the inner lives and individual personalities of popular porn culture.