Tuesday, December 27, 2005

And I had just decided to give it another year too....

Looks as if I might well be dropping out of the co-op art gallery I've been a member of for the nearly four years. We currently have 17 members and have wall art, 3D art, fine craft, jewelry. But the membership is always changing as people join and drop out for various reasons.

One of our members (who has been there for three years) works in wood (mostly carving, some intarsia, some wood burning, etc.) and specialises in erotic fetish/bondage art (but does other work that is much more standard issue). This is what he joined the co-op as, he came to one of our meetings and presented samples of his art to us and discussed with us what type of work he did and what type of art he planned to put in our gallery (not his whole line by a long shot -- some of his erotic art, but not the really super graphic stuff. Also he would have some of his more "normal" work in there also.) He was accepted in to the co-op (unanimously, I think) and has been a solid, active member.

This guy makes sure he comes to the meetings, especially when we are having potential new members presenting, and always asks the prospective member if he or she has issues with nudity and erotic/bondage art which would make him or her uncomfortable with such work in the shop. None of our current members have said they would have a problem with this.

...but apparently several of them lied, because at least three to four are pitching a hissy fit over the the erotic artist's work, saying it's disgusting and should be hidden or not even in the shop in the first place. The pieces to trigger this response are three wooden paddles with images of scantily clad women (or parts thereof), some in light bondage. One has sold and I don't remember what was on it. One of the others is a rear view of a woman from the waist down. She is wearing a thong and stockings with a garter belt. The other is also viewed from the back and this woman is also wearing a thong and stockings with a garter belt, but also has high heeled shoes. She has long hair which is loose and covers much of her back to just above her waist. And her wrists are bound and apparently secured to something above her head. So a bit of bondage on the last one.

Now we all know this artist does erotic/bondage art, so I don't get what is the big fucking deal. No one said they had a problem with it, no one said they even had a problem with nudity, but now at least one of the "decency police" within our group seems to want all the nudes to be hidden from "the children" *gasp!* The woman leading the charge even suggested (not to the group at a meeting -- she's gathering her supporters one on one or in little groups) that any "offensive" art should be "put in a catalog" that people could ask for if they want to see it. She doesn't even want "Bruce" to be displayed. Now "Bruce" is your run of the mill done-in-art-class nude -- except he's (obviously!) a male (at least in this area female nudes are far more standard). And in this painting, which isn't super detailed, Bruce has it all hanging out -- and I mean everything, including quite a gut (his, um, wedding tackle, isn't nearly as impressive as his gut. sorry folks ;-) ). But "Bruce" is a basic nude, as are several other's in the shop. And apparently, these bother at least a few of our members too.

And another point to remember. The little town where this gallery is located is known as a very liberal, open, artistic, free thinking community -- the perfect place for art that is a little outside the mainstream. That's a huge part of why I wanted in the gallery in the first place, and it's what I've most liked about it. It's been a funky little shop/gallery in interesting and kind of unusual buildings/space with a wide variety of art and fine craft which you can't get just anywhere. But that has been changing lately. We moved to a different location in July. I supported it, but from a financial standpoint only (we had to pay rent and all utilities at the old spot, rent covers all utilities at this new one. and we are always tight on cash), as I actually really liked the old place we were in -- it was fun and funky. The new place is bland and pretty much featureless. I used to like going to work my days at the old place. I don't really like this one.

And now with what I consider the overly prudish attitudes of several members, the work itself taking on a far more mainstream cast. I look at the work when I come in and can't help think, "Christ! most of this stuff is boring or cutesy" (cutesy is even worse than boring).

So now it looks as if there is going to be a big fight over the "smut" that every fucking one of us knows is displayed in the shop and every fucking one of us said we would not have a problem with. I don't think our erotic/bondage artist should be penalised because some people either outright lied or don't have the imagination to know what erotic bondage art is.


Blogger General Catz said...

i still don't get why people have a problem with the human form. of couse, there are limits, really sick sick stuff freaks me out, i'm afraid it gives others ideas. but as a whole, erotic art can be quite beautiful. Sorry to hear of your problems with these people.

10:32 AM  
Blogger CouldBeAnyone said...

Prudes in Y-S?? What is the world coming to????

1:06 PM  
Blogger Mdx said...

Hey eek, enjoyed reading your entries, keep it up you've got some interesting stuff going on. Good luck with the gerbil car, give it a good kick on my behalf. Also with the co-op I hope you can all find some compromise - like maybe keeping kids out of the erotic art section!? hmm.

1:57 PM  
Blogger jafabrit said...

I am totally with you on this. His work is generally displayed in a discreet manner. But the main point you made is that ALL potential members specifically stated they didn't have a problem with his work. I think the claim that customers walked out offended is an assumption or an outright lie.

8:59 AM  

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