Jerry Saltz’s Reader-Sourced Sexy Museum Encounters Less Sexy Than Expected

Bompas & Parr's Jump For Joy (2014) at the Museum of Sex would certainly be a fitting place for a sexy encounter.

When New York magazine art critic Jerry Saltz canvassed his readers via Facebook for stories of sexual encounters in museums, we weren’t exactly shocked. Saltz is known for posting scandalous photographs online and then pointing the finger at a supposedly prudish art world when people complain (see Jerry Saltz Got Banned From Facebook). And we figured that the inevitable had finally happened. Saltz had devised the perfect art-themed listicle. How could anyone ever top it? And why didn’t we think of it first?

The idea occurred to Saltz when he accidentally fell asleep inside the new Whitney building. “This tranquilized state left me thinking that if sleep is still possible in museums, so maybe is sex,” he writes on his Facebook page.

So when the story finally surfaced yesterday, we felt mixed emotions. We didn’t want to click, but before we knew what had come over us, there it was on our screen: 12 Stories of Sex in Museums.

The epic opening sentence is 68 words long. Why Saltz couldn’t have added one more word for a symbolic 69, we will never understand.

The most shocking thing? How unshocking most of these tales of museum intimacy are. One reader simply details a wine-fueled makeout session in a phone booth at the old Whitney Museum, while another long-windedly recalls spotting a man, tracking him down on Craigslist’s Missed Connections section, and eventually hooking up in her apartment. Another reader had sex in a car parked outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art. One includes hearsay about a guy masturbating.

As you can probably tell, none of these stories are about sex in museums. We were promised a story about sex in museums, and this is not it.

To be fair, we did quite enjoy the tale of the guy who digitally penetrated his girlfriend during a visit to Dia: Beacon (also not sex, but somehow better than the other four). And the couple who split a Xanax and some poppers in the wee hours and then proceeded to do the deed in an empty screening room at New York’s Museum of Modern Art during the 24-hour showing of Christian Marclay’s The Clock? Winners.

We hope the next edition (and you know there’ll be one) is juicier. But for those about to rush out to the nearest museum in the hopes of making a special memory to share with Jerry, watch out: this story is going to have museum guards on their toes.

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