News Item: Erotic art traces history of sex
(Category: More on SEX)
Posted by angelight
Tuesday 11 December 2007 - 22:36:33

Erotic art traces history of sex

It's an age-old question. When is art art and when is it simply pornography? A provocative exhibition at the Barbican in central London is helping fuel the debate.

Rembrandt's 1659 work Jupiter and Antiope is part of the exhibition

Seduced - Art and Sex from Antiquity to Now contains works spanning 2000 years, by some of the most famous artists in the world, showing human beings in their most intimate moments.

Kate Bush, the Barbican's head of art, has spent five years putting the collection together.

"It's not about porn. It's a thoughtful exhibition, a celebration of what connects all human beings across time and cultures," says Ms Bush.

The aim of the show is to explore the history of what's accepted as art and to throw light on our current attitudes.

And certainly those attitudes have changed. The first exhibit is a cast of the bronze fig leaf which was made so that Queen Victoria would not be offended by the replica of Michelangelo's statue of David in London's Victoria and Albert Museum.

If you take the Japanese works they are very explicit. But they are sumptuous, beautiful, delicate and refined

Professor Martin Kemp

The visitor then passes a room of pottery showing the antics of Greek and Roman gods and goddesses, through the voluptuous bodies of the Renaissance to contemporary works such as the stylised satirical photographs by Jeff Koons poking fun at the porn industry.

Martin Kemp is one of the show's curators and a professor of history of art at Oxford University.

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