12 Artists Who Do BDSM Better Than ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’

This stuff is guaranteed to make you blush.

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Allen Jones, Chair (1969) Photo: Courtesy of the artist © Allen Jones.
Nobuyoshi Araki, Bondage series (2008). Photo: artnet.
John Waters, Bill’s Stroller (2014) Photo: Courtesy the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery.
Paul Chan, Sade for Sade’s Sake (2009).
Andres Serrano, History of Sex (Bondage in Kyoto (1996) Photo: artnet
Robert Mapplethorpe, Lisa Lyon (1981) Photo: Fondazione Marconi
Monica Majoli, Hanging Rubberman #2 (2003) Photo courtesy Monica Majoli
Thomas Ruff, nudes ck02 (2012). Photo: artnet
Nancy Grossman, Untitled (1965) Photo: artnet
Man Ray, Reclining woman in bondage... (1928) Photo: artnet
Daido Moriyama, How to create a beautiful picture 6: Tights in Shimotakaido (1987) Photo: artnet

Whether you’ve read the book, seen the movie, or are just trying to ignore it all, it’s impossible to deny that Fifty Shades of Grey is everywhere. Sam Taylor-Johnson‘s sexual thriller, based on the bestselling book by E.L. James, has made bondage mainstream, well sort of, much to the chagrin of both the BDSM community and the anti-porn community (see Sam Taylor-Johnson Premieres Fifty Shades of Grey Amid Anti-Porn Protests).

But artists have been using kinky sexual practices as inspiration for years, and we’ve got the pictures to prove it. They range from Man Ray‘s 1928 photograph of a woman in a harness and ropes to Allen Jones‘s infamous “woman chair” which later spawned a racially-insensitive photo shoot featuring Dasha Zhukova, to John Waters‘s hilarious bondage stroller, recently on display at Marianne Boesky Gallery (see John Waters on Profanity, Plastic Surgery for Pets, and Justin Bieber, and John Waters Says “Celebrity Is the Only Obscenity Left in the Art World”). Anyway, looking at these artworks over the years it’s clear that the Fifty Shades generation has a lot to learn about the history of bondage from the history of art.

In an interview with Vice, prolific photographer Nobuyoshi Araki, who has taken countless erotic photographs of women tied up in various ways, explained what it feels like to participate in these situations: “I tell [people] that I free their souls by tying up their bodies. Sounds like nonsense, huh?” Well, yes. But it’s a good line.

Even if you’re not quite ready to “free your soul,” take a look at these Fifty Shades-esque works guaranteed to make you blush.

To purchase Daido Moriyama‘s How to create a beautiful picture 6: Tights in Shimotakaido, and several other similarly steamy works, visit artnet Auctions Top Pics.


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