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OVER A QUARTER CENTURY OF DEDICATION TO PROTECTING, PRESERVING AND PROMOTING EROTIC ART.
April 14, 2005 - Continuing
Hollywood, CA

The Erotic Museum
presents:
"A History of Sex"
Photographs from Andres Serrano's 1996 series.


Image: Andres Serrano

This exhibition includes Michael Coulter's 2003 film
"A History of Sex", documenting Serrano's work.

The Erotic Museum with the support of JT's Stockroom presents a one man show of images from the series "A History of Sex" by Andres Serrano. The large format photographs were commissioned in 1996 by the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands and opened to both vehement protest and overwhelming attendance.

This series of work, begun in Rome in 1995 and completed in Amsterdam in late 1996, explores the diversity of lifestyles and sexual practices of human beings. As in previous series by Serrano (Fluids, The Morgue, The Church, or Nomads), the artist is examining the larger issues of life: birth and death, bodily functions, social status, religion, ethnicity. In A History of Sex, Serrano sets out once again to put an aspect of human nature in stark relief.

The works are portraits, with an emphasis on individual character. Many of the titles bear the names of those who posed for the photographs, and in most works the subject or subjects look directly at the camera. This matter-of-fact stance of the subjects may seem in marked contrast to their actions. Perhaps this is because most sexual lives are conducted privately or perhaps because the issue of how sexual imagery and practice should be dealt with publicly is controversial and politicized.

Two of the individuals in A History of Sex were known to Serrano. All were chosen for their distinctiveness. Significantly, most of the subjects are not the buff-bodied, super-endowed humans of pornographic fare but ordinary people. Also portrayed are the elderly and those with unusual physical attributes (such as dwarfs and contortionists), types that are not often associated with sexuality. Foremost was the artist’s concern that their personality and disposition be conveyed in their countenance and would not be overshadowed by the highly charged imagery. Serrano further shifted the emphasis away from the merely obscene by taking the sexual acts from the expected arenas of practice to pastoral settings (for example, a meadow, the sea).

A History of Sex is just one history of sex not a definitive one. Serrano is not forcing us to accept a new context for sex, or to condone or reject certain behavior. Nor is he trying to titillate. While the topic of sexuality itself is charged, the images are not stylized in the manner of pornography; they do not have a seductive manner. The easy and direct access to the sexual nature and behavior of the individuals in A History of Sex demonstrates that they are unafraid to show their sexuality; they put it out there for all to see. The viewer is left to determine how to feel about it.

The exhibition extends into the Museum's Projection Room with Michael Coulter's 2003 documentary "A History of Sex", an exploration of the work and soul of Serrano, how he creates explicit images, bonds with his models and colleagues and, in the end, how he creates moving photographs of honesty and beauty that shed a unique light on the human condition. The film takes us deep into the sex clubs of Amsterdam, the cathedrals and canals that Serrano uses as his backdrops, and into the spirituality of Serrano himself, deeply influenced by the images of the Catholic Church, but rebelling at its dogma.


$12.95 No one under 18 will be admitted. 
SPECIAL DISCOUNT TO TOM OF FINLAND FOUNDATION MEMBERS.

Read more about the Museum in the Foundation's Dispatch

The Erotic Museum
Gallery Hours: Sunday - Thursday 10:00 AM - 9:00 PM, Friday - Saturday 10:00 AM - Midnight.
6741 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90028  Map 
323. GO. EROTIC
The Erotic Museum 
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MONEY
“…I named what I thought was an enormous sum. Without blinking an eye, he gathered up my life work and handed me the amount I asked for: $70… I didn’t expect more. Remember that homosexuality was forbidden in most of the Western world; so all those businesses were illegal, black market. I knew that they wouldn’t have paid me more anyway — or so I believed then.”
— Tom of Finland