‘Erotica 2005’

If some of the works included in Gallery Lombardi's 'Erotica 2005' dip into the realm of juvenile bad taste, they also reveal that sex is of compelling interest to humans

Arts Review

Erotica 2005

Gallery Lombardi, through Nov. 12

Artists use their skills to explore all facets of the human experience, including pleasant and unpleasant ones, and erotica is no exception. Despite historical and recent attacks on controversial art, artistic freedom remains a critical issue in our lives. Diverse viewpoints and multicultural perspectives are reflected through our literature, performances, visual arts, and films. For the artists participating in "Erotica 2005" at Gallery Lombardi, a privately owned gallery, government censorship is unlikely, at least at this moment in time. Investigating how one's personal censorship plays out as one views erotic material can present an engaging internal dialogue filled with challenges and perhaps paradigm shifts. It wouldn't be surprising to discover that participating artists made judgment of the works within the context of the subjective standard of high and low art.

If some of the works included in "Erotica 2005" dip into the realm of juvenile bad taste, they also reveal that sex is of compelling interest to humans. "Erotica" presents studies of diseased bodies, sexual trauma, and proselytized sexual freedom interspersed with classic pinups, fertility objects, and large-scale tableaux of encounters in nature. The greatest contribution of this annual call-for-works lies in its ability to democratically display everything from mainstream to hardcore, from contemporary slick to low-brow pornographic.

All aspects of our culture, including the arts, influence our attitudes and ideas, shaping the kind of people we are. Human beings, multifaceted and idiosyncratic, respond to culture in varied ways. Censorship of criticism, analysis, and production of art that explores the range of human sexual interests and experiences disallows independent decision. The value of free speech is that it permits a nonjudgmental stance and disallows governmental infantilization of its citizens. "Erotica" can trigger sexual arousal but so can Chanel No. 5 or a Victoria's Secret catalog.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Erotica 2005, Gallery Lombardi

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