Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
Art, Pornography, and the Failure of Categories

By appleflesh in Op-Ed
Thu Feb 22, 2001 at 05:44:25 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

I have recently been looking at the relationship between 'art' and 'pornography.' Ostensibly, this is a simple question, a matter of common sense. However, the mutual territory of these two genres of production has been consistent throughout history. How do we determine where one begins and another ends? If the terms are not mutually exclusive, can we define the relationship between art and pornography at all?


In crossing over into the print media, Nerve magazine, originally an online publication, has emerged from the unsorted array of cyberspace into a situation of necessary classification. Nerve magazine is a showcase for the exploration of sex, specifically through art. Now, in the cherished Western tradition of category, is it possible to determine where Nerve would end up? As a print magazine with explicit sexual content, Nerve begs to be labeled pornography - it proudly displays what co-publishers Rufus Griscom and Genevieve Field deem "photographs of naked people that capture more than their flesh" (from the Nerve Mission Statement). However, the artistry with which these naked people are captured would seem to deny that categorization. The apparently adverse intentions of the artistic and pornographic prevent a mutually exclusive label to be placed on Nerve. But where does Nerve belong at the newsstand? Tucked in among the art journals, or hidden behind the 18-and-over plastic screen?

While the mutual territory of art and pornography is continuous throughout history, the study of the effects of pornography on society and women in particular have brought it into academic focus within the last 30 years. Nerve's apparent contradiction is merely a modern example of this discussion. In her essay "Representing Pornography," Susan Gubar assumes the role of the feminist academic in facing the problem of Rene Magritte's Le Viol. On one hand, Magritte is a respected artist associated with the Surrealist movement. On the other, the content of the painting could, by the feminist criterion of "sexually explicit subordination of women, graphically depicted, whether in pictures or in words," be considered pornographic (Gubar 48).

Le Viol is a mock portrait of a woman whose eyes, nose, and mouth and replaced with breasts, navel, and vulva, respectively. Gubar comments, "When the female is simultaneously decapitated and recapitated by her sexual organs, the face ... embodies a sexuality that is less related to pleasure and more to dominance over the woman who is 'nothing but' a body" (Gubar 52). Gubar's feminist reading of Le Viol considers it to be an assertion of male sexual dominance, and so finds fault in Magritte. The support of this artwork implies support of the objectification of women.

However, Gubar's feminist reading is intended primarily as an ironic exercise. When Gubar goes on to interpret Le Viol in the context of Magritte's associations with Surrealism, and as the expression of the adolescent trauma of his mother's suicide, the pornographic meaning becomes secondary. Regarding Magritte's surrealist affiliations, Gubar comments,

in their exploitation of erotic and perverse images, of many different forms of art and media, and of unconscious material manifested in dreams or madness, the surrealists mocked the hypocrites of bourgeois morality as the origins of repression and alienation (Gubar 53).
In her feminist reading of Le Viol, Gubar does not fix its meaning as pornographic and condemn it as unartistic. Rather, she demonstrates the variety of interpretations to show that the pornographic element allows greater artistry and psychological complexity, rather than less. In such a way, the 'pornography' is appropriated by the 'art' for the sake of greater meaning. Another well-known feminist writer on pornography, Andrea Dworkin, echoes this sentiment in her essay, "Against the Male Flood": "In liberal culture, the writer has needed obscenity to be perceived as socially real" (Dworkin 330). Despite their different attitudes toward pornography, both Susan Gubar and Andrea Dworkin acknowledge the meaning of pornographic content in art.

Such pornographic content in art is the focus of Gubar's "Representing Pornography", and Magritte's Le Viol serves as the centerpiece of her argument. However, in her discussion of both art and pornography, Gubar does not acknowledge the entirety of either. Gubar's essay deals almost exclusively with works of painting and literature that were historically controversial, but have since been acknowledged as classic, "beginning with Ovid's textbook on seduction, Ars Amatoria, and the flagellation scenes in the saints' lives as depicted in Acta Sanctorum,' continuing on to the Marquis de Sade, Rabelais, Joyce, Nabakov, and D.H. Lawrence (Gubar 56).

Besides focusing on undisputed works of art and literature, Gubar nearly exclusively considers the 'high art' media of painting and literature. Gubar likewise ignores the bulk of real pornographic material - works created for visual sexual gratification - whether current or historical. Despite her objections otherwise, Gubar's avoidance of 'lower' art and pornography betrays a desire to separate 'art' from 'pornography.' The assumption at work is that pornographic content in 'high art' contributes to its complexity and artistry, while pornographic content in 'low art' can be ignored because it is unartistic and therefore created solely for sexual gratification.

The difference apparent between 'high art' and 'low art' is the technique with which it is made. While 'high art' media are those considered to require a great degree of technical skill, such as literature, poetry, painting, and sculpture. 'Low art,' encompassing photography, video, and film - where most pornography takes place - is perceived to involver less technical skill, whether such a perception is accurate or not. As Andrea Dworkin comments on pornographic content in art in "Against the Male Flood,"

Most important writers have insisted that their own uses of the obscene as socially defined are not pornography ... Nabakov saw in pornography, "mediocrity, commercialism, and certain strict rules of narration.... [A]ction has to be limited to the copulation of clichés. Style, structure, imagery, should never distract the reader from his tepid lust" (Dworkin 332-333).
In citing Nabakov, Dworkin demonstrates her own bias against pornographic content in 'low art.' Pornographic content, when it is supplied with artistic "style, structure, [and] imagery," avoids the label 'pornography.' Dworkin assaults pornography as being "unlike obscenity, ... a discrete identifiable system of sexual exploitation that hurts women as a class by creating inequality and abuse" (Dworkin 333). The 'identifiable' trademark of pornography is the sexual subordination of women without technical skill or artistry. While Gubar considers content alone to be the mark of the pornographic, she shares with Dworkin a bias against pornographic content made without artistic technique. Gubar ignores it, while Dworkin identifies and decries it.

It would seem that the real difference between 'pornographic art' and 'real pornography' is technical skill, and yet this conclusion is deeply flawed. In Bruce LaBruce's film Super 8 ½, the border between art and pornography is approached from the pornographic side. The film, which is about a final tragedy of a fallen porn-star and the avant-garde filmmaker making a documentary on him, gleefully plays with the art/porn distinction. While the film has rather low production quality, explicit acts of gay sex, and acting that it dubious at best, its quality of writing and its playful self-reference prevent the film from being simply categorized at pornography, as these are clearly artistic qualities. Early in the film, the main character, Bruce, recounts in a droll monotone to the camera:

Although the two movies I directed myself were made strictly with pornography in mind, they did gain a certain notoriety in experimental art film circles, largely owing, as I understand it, to my camera style - the excessive use of swish pans and my unique manipulation of focus were cited in particular. I guess you could say not knowing how to operate the camera, dropping the camera frequently, and not being able to afford a new prescription for my contact lenses worked to my advantage (LaBruce 202).
LaBruce cheekily points out that while technique may be used as a gauge of artistic quality and intent, it is not universally reliable.

If technique fails as the determination between art and pornography, there is essentially little else that separates the two genres of production. Gubar's "Representing Pornography," in ostensibly proving the inability to delineate art and pornography, demonstrates the mechanisms used to socially construct what is 'artistic' and 'pornographic.' Gubar, in response to the work of anti-pornography Andrea Dworkin and Catherine McKinnon, has shown that in the case of "presumable legitimate forms of sexually explicit painting, literature, or film," pornographic content actually adds to the artistry and complexity of the artwork (Gubar 48). In desexualizing the pornographic element in forms of 'high art,' and by the appropriation of the pornographic by the artist, the urge to separate the 'good' artistic and the 'bad' pornographic becomes clear.

The resolution of the challenge that works like Nerve magazine or Super 8 ½ present is unsatisfactory. As Nerve publishers Field and Griscom suggest in their mission statement, "[Nerve is] about sexual literature, art, and politics as well as about getting off - and we realize that these interests sometimes conflict" (Field). The contradictory purposes of art and pornography remain ingrained in the tradition of Cartesian dualism, which is why artistic pornography (or pornographic art) presents a problem in the first place. Art stimulates the mind, pornography stimulates the body, and never the twain shall meet.


Works Cited:

  • Dworkin, Andrea. "Against the Male Flood: Censorship, pornography, and Equality." Harvard Women's Law Journal vol. 8, 1985. pp. 1-29
  • Field, Genevieve and Rufus Griscom. "What Are We Thinking?: a letter from the editors." Nerve website.
  • Gubar, Susan. "Representing Pornography." For Adult Users Only. Eds. Gubar and Hoff. Blooming: Indiana UP. 1989. pp. 47-67
  • LaBruce, Bruce. "Super 8 and a half: an original screenplay by Bruce LaBruce." Ride, Queer, Ride! Winnipeg: Plug In Gallery. 1996

Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Related Links
o Nerve magazine
o Nerve Mission Statement
o Susan Gubar
o Rene Magritte's
o Le Viol
o Andrea Dworkin
o Bruce LaBruce
o Super 8 ½
o "What Are We Thinking?: a letter from the editors."
o For Adult Users Only
o Ride, Queer, Ride!
o Also by appleflesh


Display: Sort:
Art, Pornography, and the Failure of Categories | 19 comments (15 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
The answer... (3.33 / 3) (#4)
by error 404 on Thu Feb 22, 2001 at 01:41:32 AM EST

Yep, I have an answer, and it's short.

Who is asking the question, and why?

The Nerve magazine example has a particularly short and easy answer: it goes behind the plastic in those jurisdictions that require it. If the authorities say it is material that must go behind the plastic, that's what it is.

If the person asking the question is looking to get off, then it is porn if it gets him or her off, or at least makes a reasonable effort in that direction.

If the person asking is looking for some kind of literary or artistic enlightenment and finds it (or finds a reasonable effort to provide it) then it has artistic merit and can be considered non-porn.


..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

More questions... (4.75 / 4) (#8)
by appleflesh on Thu Feb 22, 2001 at 09:33:36 AM EST

If the person asking the question is looking to get off, then it is porn if it gets him or her off, or at least makes a reasonable effort in that direction.

If the person asking is looking for some kind of literary or artistic enlightenment and finds it (or finds a reasonable effort to provide it) then it has artistic merit and can be considered non-porn.

I understand what you are driving at, but I doubt that a solipsistic definition of either art or pornography really 'works.' Neither art nor pornography (with rare exceptions) are generated for an audience of one.

What if, for example, a person is aroused by a work that is considered 'great art'? Do we then label that person as 'sexually deviant,' 'perverse,' 'repressed'? If a person has a foot fetish, does that necessarily make all shoe catalogs pornography?

(Two people once confessed to my friend, who played the lead role in Sondheims's "Sweeny Todd", that they had masturbated during the Judge's aria in that show -- admittedly a very sexually charged piece of music. What of them?)

Why do art and pornography have to be mutually exclusive at all? What is so troubling, on a social level, about a work being simultaneously culturally important and physically arousing?

[ Parent ]

What "works" is what I'm getting at (5.00 / 1) (#12)
by error 404 on Thu Feb 22, 2001 at 06:05:38 PM EST

And what works depends on what you are trying to do.

I certainly agree that art and pornography are not mutualy exclusive, particularly when looked at under different circumstances. The question in the article about whether Super 8 1/2 is porn or art seems very obvious to me: it is porn when it is looked at as porn, it is art when it is looked at as art. It is, in fact, both.

It seems to me that a better question from the feminist perspective than "is this porn?" is "is this degrading to women?" There are plenty of degrading non-erotic images, and except from a rather sick perspective, the erotic does not need to be degrading. As for objectifying, well, I don't think you can portray or even look at anything or anyone without objectifying.

From an artistic perspective, I'm more interested in whether a work is a button-pusher. Most porn just pushes the erotic button. Naked woman in sexual pose => viewer aroused. No exploration of form and color or composition or ideas. No attempt to do something new and different, or more beautiful, or even interesting. Just present the naked woman and get the response. Much religious art is similar. It presents the standard symbol and gets the standard response. I long to go to a concert sometime and have the main band come out and yell "are you ready to rock?" and the audience reply as one "No, come back in about 20 minutes".

In practice, the materials tend to get polarized. When you run into a particular picture, there is rarely any question. Sure, there are borderline cases, usualy intentional. But when you accidentaly hit a porn site, is there any question?
..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

A statement of opinion, and one of inquiry (3.50 / 2) (#5)
by axxeman on Thu Feb 22, 2001 at 04:02:06 AM EST

"Pornography" is poor semantics.

Both the intent and explicitness of the depiction of sexual content in media takes place on a smooth scale. People choose a point of comfort for themselves on this scale, and call everything to one side of it "pornography", and the other side is classified into "art", "drama" etc.

Also, can someone explain how exactly production and enjoyment of pornography debases women, or debases them more than other industries / forms of employ? My guess would be that by having such content available for masturbatory purposes of lonely men, less women would actually get raped by the same. Well, less men as well, when you take into account prisons ;).

Being or not being married isn't going to stop bestiality or incest. --- FlightTest

As I understand it... (4.00 / 1) (#10)
by appleflesh on Thu Feb 22, 2001 at 10:35:07 AM EST

... The argument set forth in "Against the Male Flood" states that pornography creates 'inequality and abuse' towards women because it normalizes the perception of women as sexual objects who exist for the pleasure of men.

I don't necessarily agree with Dworkin's heterocentric views on pornography, or the fact that she ignores more challenging genres of heterosexual porn, such a bondage or S&M with the female in the dominant role.

However, I found Dworkin's discussion of censorship, obscenity, and obscenity law rather insightful -- she is, after all, a professor at Harvard Law. Besides, Dworkin's views are so forceful and polemical that any discussion that mentions feminism and pornography and avoids Andrea Dworkin should be automatically suspect.

[ Parent ]

How to get a C (5.00 / 2) (#13)
by CdotZinger on Thu Feb 22, 2001 at 06:13:56 PM EST

Disclaimer: Since the article looks like a recycled undergrad paper, I'm going to offer some "thesis adviser"-type advice here, based on a little snatch of your comment above. My apologies if that seems kind of patronizing.

[...] that pornography creates 'inequality and abuse' towards women because it normalizes the perception of women as sexual objects who exist for the pleasure of men.

People who aren't very familiar with pornography--except as a moral category in an aesthetic category's rhetorical clothes--often say that. There are several other (equally blinkered) ways of looking at it. Here's one, chosen at random:

Mainstream pornography--what your average man buys at your average video store and takes home for a little j.o.--while featuring an astonishing variety of women of every race, body type, and apparent "class," features only a small number of men, an elite of larger-than-average-penised, larger-than-average-load-shooting men with the freakish ability to maintain an erection for hours on end without ever really getting aroused (until it's time for the money shot). These same men reappear in almost every film, video, and popular hardcore magazine photo shoot. From this, one could observe: A woman's barrier to entry into mainstream pornography's world of big paychecks and seeming sexual freedom is merely one of willingness; the exclusion of all but a few men, based on traditional standards of manliness (virility, athleticism, endowment), is a reification and sub-representational reinforcement of the "real world's" class system, where lack of elite status, measured in money and political power, keeps normal guys from gettin' the good stuff they see on tv--the same message lower-class men get when they watch "Entertainment Tonight": Puffy's doin' Jennifer Lopez and you can't; it's all about the Benjamins. So, pornography in its most popular forms is a tool of oppression of poor and disenfranchised men.

Not that I recommend whipping out an uncanonized thought like that in an undergrad class at NYU--you'd get a C and a lot of angry red squiggles through your paragraphs.

Some other interesting theses which would get you a bad grade:

€ Art is actually a subcategory of Pornography, a failure-of-Pornography (in that its formalism prevents it from meeting pornography's laudable Socialist-Realist goal of endlessly recreating hitherto-suppressed everyday life).

€ Pornographic films, with their de-emphasis of meta-narrative (traditional Oedipal/Original Sinful plot with its erasure-of-eruptive-feminine-disorder) are a model for an art which transcends the logocentric binarisms that keep women down.

€ [Et cetera; this could go on for days]

My point is: Don't summarize and try to look Solomonic and impartial, and don't adopt the vocabulary of previous theorizers without examining it carefully ("heterocentric," for example, is etymologically nonsensical). Come up with theses of your own by looking at primary sources, not third-hand accounts with motivated exclusions. You wanna be Derrida, or you wanna be [anyone you can think of who writes silly little articles recycling his ideas in hope of becoming tenured]? And have some fun, dammit!

(Ah, the nineties...[cue "The Way We Were"]...what fun life was. Wish I still had some dogmatic profs to piss off.)




Q: You could interest yourself in these interesting machines. They're hard to understand. They're time-consuming.
A: I don't like you.
[ Parent ]

Alas... (none / 0) (#15)
by appleflesh on Thu Feb 22, 2001 at 07:07:01 PM EST

You've found me out. It *is* an undergrad paper for a class at NYU. Why, then, did I post it to kuro5hin? I thought that it was in the vein of discussion here at k5, especially after reading some of the pornography-oriented flamewars happening between streetlawyer and HP^2. (Not that I take sides -- please don't get me involved, gentlemen).

As for my analysis of 'third-hand' accounts -- what can I say? I was only following the syllabus. ;)

Thanks for your "thesis-advisor" type comments. Really.

[ Parent ]

Explicitness, or appeal? (none / 0) (#19)
by Keslin on Fri Feb 23, 2001 at 11:41:43 PM EST

Your definition of pornography implies that the fundamental difference between art and pornography is the level of explicitness of the material. Aside from the fact that I don't think that the difference needs to be divined at all, your definition isn't sufficient.

You may have heard recently of documentary photographs of a couple having sex, as viewed with an endoscopic camera from within the woman's vagina. That's about as explicit as it gets, yet very few people would use the word 'pornography' to describe that footage.

An opposing counterexample is the CD insert for Ricky Martin's new album. THAT, to me, is pornography.

The second example demonstrates two things: first that a more appropriate definition is the nature of the way that it appeals to the audience. If an item's primary appeal is to the prurient interest, then it is more likely to be considered 'pornography'. The second point made by the example is that the classification of any given item as pornographic is and always will be entirely subjective. Most of the people reading this probably don't consider a photograph of Ricky Martin to be pornographic. I sure do, it appeals to me primarily on a prurient level. I don't consider those pictures of women with six breasts to be pornographic, but I'll be that somebody out there does.

It will never be possible to create a single, objective definition of pornography. The US Supreme Court has presented its three-pronged Miller Test as a determination of what is legally obscene, which admitted the fundamentally subjective nature of the argument by applying local community standards to the classification. That doesn't work now that the Internet has obliterated the concept of local community standards, and so now the definition of what is legally obscene in the US has basically devolved into just child pornography. The issue of what is 'pornographic' parallels that of what is obscene.


-Keslin, the naked nerd girl.

[ Parent ]
More than one issue (3.50 / 2) (#7)
by TheEye on Thu Feb 22, 2001 at 05:30:07 AM EST

I think there is more than one issue here, if I read it right:
  • The male/female perspective
  • The distinction between art intended to tickle the human sexuality ('art') and plain production work with the same intention ('pr0n')
Both points may be related, but differ in essence.

With respect to the first point, I think we now live in a time in which this has degenerated into/been resolved to mere politics, since most of the real issues are settled now. At the very least there it has settled the general subconsious and affects the good/bad judgement of most people now.

The second point can/sheld be be generalised up to a point where it has nothing to do with sex anymore:

what is the distinction between Art and aesthetically pleasing objects in general?
I do not think that sex (as in sexual) has much to do with this issue, beyond the obvious fact that a human body is aesthetically pleasing.

What I really want to say is that sex is just viewpoint: a way to look at these two issues, not the real issue.

Regards,
<()>

That damned word `is` again. (2.00 / 1) (#9)
by pallex on Thu Feb 22, 2001 at 09:57:46 AM EST

If people said `i believe` and not `is`, or at least tried to qualify what they were saying, we wouldnt be having these discussions - or at least, they`d be more interested.

The following things exist:

Painted pictures of naked women.
Photographs of naked women.

Apparantly one is usually porn, the other usually art. At least, thats the impression i get reading about them in the media.

"The cup of tea was hot." Hot compared to ice, cold compared to the sun. "

The cup of tea was at 80 degrees farenheit". Thats better.

I would ramble on longer, only i just realised i`m late for a meeting!

doesn't make sense (4.00 / 1) (#11)
by mami on Thu Feb 22, 2001 at 05:58:42 PM EST

I read somewhere that the difference between art and pornography is in how skillful a photographer uses light and shadow. Whatever...

The question is not what is art and what is pornography (why would you want to make that distinction other than for yourself after looking at something), but when the art/pronography you are looking at causes some sort of painfull distress to yourself or to your family. That's solely dependent on the personality of the viewer.

Let's say my SO had to look at the beautiful breasts of some naked woman painted by Rubens for five hours a day, because he is just a Rubens fetishist, then I might have a problem, because I might just expect him instead a.) to do something better with his time or b.) spend some time on my own breasts. So, that's definitely consumption of art and definitely a problem for my mental health. Let's say my SO and I would be a homosexual couple and we both like to look at the Rubens naked women or more "pornographic" photoes , we have no problem, though it might be considered as compulsive consumption of art/pornography by third parties. Third parties have no business in deciding for them what's art and what not. Go figure.

No need to decide what's art and what's not art for anyone but yourself, IMHO.

Photography is in this sphere, too. (3.00 / 2) (#14)
by static on Thu Feb 22, 2001 at 06:30:15 PM EST

I can understand the dichotomy. Photography magazines sometimes have a similar problem. The one I buy, Practical Photography, almost never does not have an attractive model on the cover. The editors have come under fire for this, but the plain truth is that the images that the readers most want to know how to do are these (often called "glamour") and landscapes. It is "art", but the art of creating seductive pictures. :-)

The resonably recent spate of Men's Magazines (Ralph, FHM, ...) also have a similar problem, but from the other direction. Whilst they contain pornographic content, they are definitely not of the Penthouse or Playboy level.

I couldn't read the entire article - it was very long for Kuro5hin.

Wade

My microscope (4.00 / 1) (#16)
by weirdling on Fri Feb 23, 2001 at 05:04:00 PM EST

I'm going to look at the feminist view. Speaking as a male, and one who has been one all his life, and one who has had the misfortune to date a feminist, they are woefully underinformed and unbelievably out of touch. Don't get me wrong; women have been mistreated, but so have men. Mostly, mistreating of men is psychological, while mestreatment of women is physical. Have you ever read a Harlequin Romance Novel? You know the one in which men bare their souls? A lot of women eat that stuff up, but it is substantively no different from pornography.
Feminists, religionists, and all other enemies of freedom tend to view the world 'as it should be' rather than 'as it is', so often, due to bad preconceptions, come to rather idiotic conclusions. So, when a feminist views a submissive woman with scorn, they fail to realize the long train of evolutionary behaviour that led to this situation. Religionists simply deny that it is an acceptable behaviour, never mind that it is very common.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
Is *this* art or pornography? (none / 0) (#17)
by SIGFPE on Fri Feb 23, 2001 at 05:04:14 PM EST

Only click on this if you're not offended by pictures of naked women

It's a serious question though!
SIGFPE

The question that you're missing... (4.00 / 1) (#18)
by Keslin on Fri Feb 23, 2001 at 11:27:53 PM EST

...is "Why do we care?" Why are we so preoccupied with classifying content as either 'art' or 'pornography'. When historians from 2000 years in the future dig up the K5 archives and read this, they will not be interested in our answers to the question, they will be a lot more interested in the fact that we are asking the question at all.

The implications of the question are more interesting than any answers could possibly be. The mere question implies a fundamental mutual exclusion between art and pornography, that one can never be the other. I am a pornographer myself, and I am offended by the notion that nothing that I create has artistic value. An 'artist' may be offended by the notion that nothing that she does appeals to the prurient interest.

The question also reveals how uncomfortable our society is with its own desires. The ancient Greeks and Romans freely incorporated sexality into their artwork, with creations that spanned the entire gamut from 'fine art' all the way to gratuitous smut. From what we can tell, they made little effort to segregate the smut from any other sort of art. Graphic depictions of sex even appeared on children's dinner plates found in Pompeii. After the fall of Rome, the Christian church took over the Western world and persecuted open sexuality as a threat.

The effect on our modern society is obvious, and it is only recently that we are becoming more comfortable expressing our sexuality in artwork, and artistic vision in our pornography. When historians from the future read this discussion thread, they will pinpoint the relative maturity of our society's views on sexuality by the mere fact that we are sitting around debating the difference between 'art' and 'pornography'. It's like reading a transcript of a meeting in Salem from 200 years ago, where people are debating the difference between mere 'heresy' and actual 'witchcraft'. We wouldn't pay a lot of attention to their explanations of the difference between the two, we would simply be amused by the question.


-Keslin, the naked nerd girl.

Art, Pornography, and the Failure of Categories | 19 comments (15 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:

kuro5hin.org

[XML]
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest © 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!