Nothing makes me happier than art and sex, well besides a delicious meal with champagne, and when the two come together, oh I hear the angels singing. There is a new anniversary printing of a book written by art historian Gilles Neret with the art history publishing powerhouse Taschen called Erotica Universalis. I am sure there will be more than a few people, who haven’t really explored art beyond a few famous Impressionist pieces, Picasso, and Van Gogh, who will be shocked that such pornographic pictures have been created by great artists. Hell, even Dr. Seuss produced erotic art!* Not to mention the common intersection of religion and sex and art, seen in pre-Christian Mediterranean cultures and among many African and Asian cultures as well. Art and sex have always been intertwined and the aberration is chaste art. In fact, Picasso once famously proclaimed, “If it is chaste, it is not art.”
Of course, the intersection of sex and art does not stop at paintings, frescoes, or sculptures. An October 2013 article in the Dangerous Minds magazine highlighted the erotic furniture and other objets d’art owned by famous (or infamous, depending on who you ask) seductress and monarch, Catherine the Great. The pieces are beautifully rendered and wouldn’t look out of place in an ancient Roman brothel or even a Parisian or London brothel during the belle époque. That said, these pieces aren’t for those easily put off by the human form, which I think is beautiful but has been demonized by those who can’t stand what they see in the mirror.
*The art gallery where I worked here in Chicago had a couple of these Seuss erotic drawings on exhibition. They were very popular among random people who would wander into the space.