Polish your monocle. Don a beret. We're going to get a little snooty. It's time for a trip to the gallery as Sex Stories We Love ponders the meanings of sex and art.
Hanging on to the Golden Age
As both an artistic and sexual medium, porn has changed significantly over its relatively short span (the widespread, commercial version). First, it was "get whatever you can on film." Then, filmmakers actually began making full movies to play in theaters. Then, video came along and reduced the artistry, turning product around in record time for mass distribution. Finally, the internet blew the past away with clips, streaming, piracy, downloading, camming and more. That said, there are some folks, including Stormy Daniels, who maintained the allure of the carnal cinema. There aren't many big budget, cinematic porn productions, because those budgets aren't supported by the fast, short turnaround profits expected of porn. Yet, they can be a different kind of titillating treat.
Tied in Knots
Some of the most intriguing new forms of art actually embrace older traditions and give it a new breath of life. Subversion through art. Sex is definitely one of the easiest and potentially most controversial ways to liven up an older art form. I can't imagine too many people were ever picturing cumshot faces depicted through embroidery. Can you? Artist Emma Rose Laughlin updated a practice that has been stereotypically female, needlework, and juxtaposed it with a stereotypically male fantasy version of female sexuality. There are many layers to get into here and the artist is quite fascinating to read about.
Not all art comes out of an artistic inspiration. Sometimes art can spring to life out of necessity. It has often been said that some sex-related devices, contraptions and toys are reaching design levels that truly border on artistic presentation. While these items represent function over form, their form can sometimes become a defining characteristic. Blacksmith Colum Collins had difficulty making ends meet with his more artistic metalwork pursuits. Yet, when a couple commissioned him to create sex-specific items, he discovered a new avenue to explore art and blacksmithing. While sexy art may not have been his initial calling, it opened a new artistic line to explore.
Public art can be a tremendous way to recognize the achievements of individuals and groups. Statues have long been a commemoration of choice and can truly display nobility and pride. However, art should always be under the scrutiny of the public eye too. There is currently much debate over keeping public art that recognizes figures and groups who have since been realized to have committed wrongs, instigated suffering, or denied justice or care to others. In New York's Central Park, a statue to the "father of gynaecology," James Marion Sims, was recently removed because it is now recognized that he conducted much of his research on enslaved back women, sometimes without anesthetic. Recognizing this type of horrible past in history is necessary to move forward to a better, inclusive future.
Turn on Words
The written word has always been linked with sex. As long as people have been able to write, they've been scribbling sensual and seductive stories. Erotica has a long tradition of setting us aflame. For some, literature takes another sexual step in the actual form of books and the places that house them: bookstores and libraries. For these folks, the sensual pleasure of holding a book can be just as delightful as the steamy words on the page. People love their book spaces! Which makes this erotic anthology fundraiser for Chicago's Volumes Bookcafe a wonderful and sexy idea! Sounds like a delicious coupling.
Not a Take to Tell
Finally, celebrating sex and literature is delightful. However, naming a colour of lingerie after a character in "The Handmaid's Tale?" Not so much.