Can Art Out-Do Porn?

Photo via: Feck

An exhibition in Melbourne is probing the boundaries between art and pornography, asking its audience if art might be better suited to entice our libidos than modern-day online erotica, the Guardian reports.

The pop-up exhibition was organized by an artist collective known as Feck and is entitled “Feck:Art.” It includes works by more than 50 emerging, local artists, sprawled across a large, Brunswick warehouse as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival. The gender ratio of the participating artists is refreshing: 60 percent female to 40 percent male, as well as a few transgender artists. Selected via an open call competition, the chosen artists tackle the saucy theme in a wide range of media, including photography, video, painting, and installation.

The organizers of “Feck:Art” aim to develop a concept of “socially responsible erotica,” which, according to the exhibition’s publicist Hannah Miller, stands for work that “doesn’t perpetuate stereotypes or repeat negative teachings that are often found in mainstream porn.”

The exhibition is certainly timely. Australia is developing a consistent reputation for censoring radical, challenging art, according to a Guardian report published last year. Yet, online pornography remains ubiquitous and access to it, mostly unmonitored and uncensored.

“With the exponential proliferation of porn over the past 10 years or so, I think now more than ever it’s important to restore a depth and dignity to depictions of sexual desire in media,” the Feck collective’s founder Richard Lawrence said in a statement. “As producers of socially responsible erotica, we thought it would be interesting to fund a competition to see how Melbourne artists make us think and feel about sex, and whether art can make porn obsolete.”

The collective is hoping that the exhibition will help eradicate the sleazy reputation that “erotic art” often attracts.


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