One’s Art Is Another’s Porn

Would you hang a painting of two people “making love” in your home? How about an image of two people “Fucking”? The first one sounded more like a possibility, didn’t it? A painting of “making love” sounded more artistic and appropriate to share with others.

How Do We Separate Art And Porn?

Is there a need to separate or a need to take a second look? I’ve heard it argued that depictions of intercourse describe what is pornographic, perhaps that’s a valid argument? On second thought… I had to think of all the art and artists that do depict intercourse (and there are a lot of them), some in a very graphic way others in a more conceptual way. Looking through history and modern art to me it’s very hard to see a line between what is pornographic and what is “art”. Whilst looking at the following works of art keep in mind that both art and pornographic material can be used to explore sexuality.

Katsushika Hokusai

Everyone knows or is familiar with Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai, No? The name doesn’t sound familiar? He painted mostly in the early 1800’s, one of his pieces has been duplicated and redone in everything from wallpaper to car seat covers.

Famous japanese print of sea
Image: Katsushika Hokusai – Under The Wave Of Kanagawa

While this might be Katsushika more well-known piece in western culture, it is his Shunga works that give Katsushika his most notable fame. Shunga means Spring and Spring is a Japanese euphemism for Sex.

Asian people having sex
Image: Katsushika Hokusai – The Adonis Plant
An octopuss eating out a woman
Image: Katsushika Hokusai -The Dream of the Fishermans Wife

Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons is an American artist best known for his Banal object pieces. Famous for recreating balloon animals in large stainless steel sculptures. Also very well known for his pop culture subjects.

Golden sculpture of Micheal Jackson & Bubbles
Image: Jeff Koons – Micheal Jackson & Bubbles 1988

At one point in the 90s, while he was married to Italian Adult film star, Jeff put together a full art show surrounding their intimate acts. Images are blown up beyond life size. These giant portraits filled the gallery floor to ceiling. The series is called “Made in Heaven” 1991. Have a search for it if you’re into that 70’s porn magazine portraits. From the same series, Koons made enamel sculptures of these same intimate moments. Maybe it’s just me, but I think they could sit next to any Swarovski collection.

Scultpure of man having sex with a woman
Image: Jeff Koons – Dirty Jeff On Top
Scuplture of oral sex
Image: Jeff Koons – Jeff Eating IIona 1991

Andy Warhol

Everyone’s favourite Pop Artist Andy Warhol Is not a name synonymous with Erotica, at least to most of his fans. He was made famous by his POP art style and celebrity collaborations.  I think most memorable was his series with Marilyn Monroe in the late 60s. Another artist whose works have been replicated in every medium possible.

Pop art of Marilyn Monroe
Image: Andy Warhol – Monroe Series

Andy Warhol definitely had his foray into the erotica world. Especially later in his art careers when most of his subject matter went predominately in the homo erotic direction. Warhol’s “Pop” Art style certainly added an ambiguity to the explicit pieces he was creating.

Sexy feet erotic porn
Image: Andy Warhol – Torsos and Sex Parts Series 1977
A painting of a big dick
Image: Andy Warhol – Torsos And Sex Parts

All of these artists are known artists for their “non-erotic” works and yet even with their collections of erotic art, we don’t consider them as a Pornographic artist or even vulgar artist. They are noted for their contributions and individual takes on the human sexual form and the act of sex itself. Art is often blamed for being a product that romanticises the act of sex through the renaissance era particularly. Making it look so soft and delicate and of course depicting the man to be in charge.

There was a time that artists and their art were created to shock us and displace our minds. Art was there to force us to rethink our rational and expand the way to view everyday life and events. Today every 13 seconds new porn is uploaded to the internet. Today’s people are not shocked by the artwork, but rather the constant input of pornographic videos and moving images.

Just like sexual preferences, everyone has their own taste in what Art is. Perhaps before this blog post, you hadn’t considered Erotic art at all? I have only included the smallest references to erotic art and artists in this article but Oh Zones Adult Lifestyle Centres around Sydney have a number of great books with vast collections of Erotic Art. If you would like to look at more art, have a look at my tribute to my favourite male erotic art.

Author: KrizPatrick BA(Hon) Psychology- Human Sexuality

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Patrick Kriz has a Bachelor Degree (Honours) in Psychology – Human Sexuality. Patrick is a wonderful man that has a wealth of knowledge and is happy to share this with those around him. He is articulate, educated and the provider or interesting and educational writings.

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