A belated and abbreviated column this week due to a headache. Blame the porn I’ve been browsing.
Regarding the “I Am Beauty” sculptures that appeared recently on this site: I suppose I should just be happy to see a public monument to the fact that everyone likes sex. But you have questions, I just know it: Is it porn? Is it art? Is it actually porn cleverly disguised as art?
No. To all the above.
I can’t accept that these images are intended to arouse a viewer’s attention. At least I personally don’t find them “exciting.” Explicit? Sure. Porn? Undoubtedly no. The Rodin-muscled male hands and the brashly detailed clutch of the woman’s pubic mound are realistic at best, and I mean that as an insult. Somehow, despite all the breathless back-arching, the couple still comes off as ugly and cold.
Erecting a statue like this at a fancy hotel in the US would be difficult (though there may be a few in the honeymoon suites). Although not porn, it is provocative, therefore more likely to cause offense to the patronage than provoke artistic soul-searching. We also tend to be rather jaded about this kind of stuff — see Gustave Courbet’s NSFW painting L’Origine du monde, which scandalized the world back in 1866.
China had a healthy erotic artistic history up until the late-Ming, but thanks to centuries of suppression from Confucianism, foreign missionaries, and most recently the government’s views on pornography, sex and art in China have been damaged, and it’s unclear to what extent they will recover. (If you want a good summary of the history of Chinese pornography, see Danwei’s post from last year [borderline NSFW, depending on where you work].)
Back to the hotel sculpture: it may not be art, it may not be porn, but it certainly isn’t beauty. For such a large statue to masquerade as art… well, I would give it credit as a performance piece. I suppose congratulations are in order for getting away with a public work about the glories of the human body… or whatever it’s supposed to be about.
Three final rapid-fire thoughts (because when it comes to porn, there really isn’t a classy way to finish):
1. If anyone is concerned about the state of erotica in the wider world, I suggest you loudly protest Apple Inc.’s rejection of the Geometric Porn App.
2. Those who want a 4D experience in Asia, vibrating seats are coming soon to theaters near you!
3. And finally, since we’d hate for anyone to leave this post about PORN with blue balls (and whatever the female equivalent might be), feel free to check out these websites (borderlineporn.tumblr.com and www.sexinart.net/category/porn, most certainly NSFW, by a lot). No matter what they say, they are NOT art.
Lola B is an artist in Beijing. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. |Yishus Archives|