New York

“The Explicit Image”

Ex Voto Gallery

While the debate rages about pornography—its definition, purpose, and social implications—artists continue to create a free zone in which graphic erotic imagery and art interface apart from sociological categorization. In no area are the issues more tangled than in photography; the technical capabilities of film have shifted erotic discourse away from literature, from the nuance of the written word to the bluntness of the visual image.

“The Explicit Image: an exhibition of 55 erotic photographs culled from the 3,500 images in the Vasta Images/Books collection, was a curatorial statement about pornography a recontextualization of erotic photography from Victorian times (ca. 1880) up to the swinging ’60s and the marketing of mass-produced hard-core pornography. Surprisingly, there was no attempt to define or even distinguish among the ”erotic’“ the ”pornographic," and the simply nude.

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. Please sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW and save up to 65% off the newsstand price for full online access to this issue and our archive.

Order the PRINT EDITION of the April 1986 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.