11th Annual Erotic Art Show moves to Crux to open minds
Since human beings started dabbling with the pastime known loosely as “art,” the use of references to sexual relations has trumped most other attention-grabbing techniques. Whether the medium is a cave scratching by tribal storytellers, the nude figures in Renaissance masterpieces or Janet Jackson’s boob at the Super Bowl halftime show, it is not too difficult to figure out that a sexual flourish or two sparks human interest.
Now the Chico State Women’s Center celebrates the erotic in art with Own Your Pleasure, this year’s variation on the center’s annual Erotic Art Show. But before any perverts or indignant moral crusaders cancel their Friday night plans, rest assured that the folks at the Women’s Center are not tacking smut on the walls. The Erotic Art Show deals with positive sexual issues in a responsible way.
“An erotic art show is a celebration of the erotic through an artistic medium,” said Sean Cummins, the Women’s Center staff member who heads up the committee for the event. “The erotic art show we are doing is an art show promoting women’s empowerment through sexuality and woman-positive art that deals with sexuality.”
The Own Your Pleasure theme serves to remind people that sexuality is a normal and healthy part of human existence. Sex is a pleasurable act and taking pleasure in it is nothing to be embarrassed about. The hush-hush nature of the American culture’s relationship with sex, coupled with the sexualization in media, creates unhealthy attitudes toward sexual activity.
When people are taught that sexuality is bad, but that sex is something to be obsessed over, the topic can breed a lot of problems. These problems continue to exist because they remain unaddressed most of the time.
The Erotic Art Show opens up an avenue of expression to the issue of sexuality. The aim of this expression is to get people thinking and talking about sex in an open way without any of the usual hang-ups.
“There’s not much of an outlet or venue for erotic expression, especially in a community like this that is relatively conservative,” Cummins said. “It’s important to give people an opportunity to express their erotic selves in a safe environment.”
The event uses more than one medium to show this.
Cummins said the group wanted to get away from the usual paintings-on-the-wall art show and mix things up a little. So this year the Erotic Art Show has moved off campus to the Crux Art Collective and will feature sculptures, dancing and other performance pieces.
At the independent collective’s space, the Women’s Center won’t have to adhere to Associated Students’ rules. The Women’s Center will provide their own food. There will also be a band, something the Women’s Center has not been able to have on campus because the A.S. wouldn’t allow live performances in the BMU Gallery.
Cummins said the A.S. complained about some of the art being too graphic and added that the more relaxed and free-flowing atmosphere at the Crux is just easier to deal with. While the people at the Crux won’t get offended by an anatomically correct painting of a woman, the event is still put on by an A.S. organization and won’t feature alcoholic refreshments.
Cummins hopes that people coming to the exhibit will leave “feeling a little more empowered with their own sexuality, are inspired to express themselves artistically or examine themselves and their ideas about their sexuality.”