Ars Gratia Artis. Anyone who grew up watching the MGM lion herald the opening credits to The Wizard of Oz (along with countless other Technicolor musicals) is familiar with the Latin phrase that translates to: “Art for Art’s Sake.” While it’s dubious at best to believe that any major Hollywood studio’s motives were artistic rather than mercenary, it does serve as a segue to the contemplation of art, and since this is SexIs, how art relates to sex.
A stretch, you say? I don’t know. Both art and sex are highly subjective.
I was recently discussing the process of artistic creation with my mom. A painter with a degree in fine art from Chicago’s renowned Art Institute, she was recalling that in the early days of her career, she received “messages” that she would then translate to works of painting and sculpture. When she stepped back from a completed piece, she felt in many ways, that it no longer belonged to or came from her.
In art, there is the message, the artist, the work … and then, there is the audience. Each of us views what we see through the lens of our own perception. Whether devotees of Abstract Expressionism, the Pre-Raphaelites, Surrealists or … Thomas Kincaid: When it comes to art, people like what they like.
The same can be said for sex. What resonates in the brain, across our skin, and in our genitals is what speaks to a unique individual construct of nerve endings and experience. What we like, we like. What we don’t, we don’t. (Thomas Kincaid as foreplay? Personally, I shudder to think of it, but I’m sure that somewhere out there, someone is aroused by the thought.)
This Thursday brings the launch of a new SexIs column by veteran eroticist and professional journalist, Cole Riley: Great Minds Kink Alike. Riley will be exploring the intersection of sense, sexuality and art with some of today’s most provocative auters in film, music, performance, fine art … and pornography.
Riley begins the programme with bestselling author Toni Bentley. A once celebrated ballerina who turned her talents to writing, Bentley’s muse most often finds her via the back door. Yes, you read that right. A fearless and outspoken bottom, Bentley’s page-turning, erotically charged memoir The Surrender, elevates the act of anal sex to the level of high art. Riley spoke candidly with her about her unusual inspiration. It’s a fascinating read, where for once, “the ends” justify the means. Arse Gratia Artis ...
Going forward, we will be including more coverage of the arts, fashion, current events and the cutting edge of all things viewed through the lens that is SexIs. Got something you want to see or learn more about? Give us a holler here.
And thanks for reading.
Also on SexIs This Week:
• The Whore Journals. For some, what we do defines who we are—but when one of your many multitasking activities is sex work…things can get mighty interesting.
• San Francisco’s Center for Sex and Culture has a hands-on approach to Sex Ed and cutting edge kink that make finding a new place to call home a true challenge.
• Tuesdays with Nina: Making the most of May/December romance.
• Mr. Sexsmith’s Other Girlfriend: The Kinky Queer Survival Guide for the Holidays
• Rachel Kramer Bussel’s Secrets of a Sex Writer: The Art of the Handjob
• The Bloggess: Naughty or nice? We’ll let you decide.
• Republican Sex Advice’s Chip Womack. Oh, you lusty elephants! (It would be ironic if it wasn't satire...)
(Painting: “I, Thee and Me,” by Nat Cole, acrylic on wood panel)