Pornography as art

March 6, 2007 at 4:25 pm (philosophy of the arts, sex)



  1. post burnt said,

    Before I begin I will mention that I am absolutely no expert on pornography, but am against the dehumanizing of people. I do know a thing or two about art in general, and have an Associate degree in art besides my more extensive music training, and my sister is a professional artist.

    These are some principles worth applying to various contexts. Human expression falls between two poles: one in which the created object conforms to the expectations of the observer, and another in which the creation transforms the observer. For the sake of this discussion I will call the conformed object craft and the transforming object art. When the human body and sexuality is presented in a manner that subjugates itself to the observer’s expectations through use of clique’, poor taste, obvious overstatement, falsification, etc. it is not art. Human sexuality can be presented in art, but the nude as an art object does not bring to mind dehumanizing vocabulary, but a sense of truth. There is no aspect of sexuality that would preclude it from art, quite the opposite is true, in fact. Because sexuality is so all encompassing it has the capacity to conform to human expectation in the basest, vulgur manner, and has equal capacity for deep, exalted artistic communication. When human sexuality is communicated with an artistic vocabulary, the sensitive observer will leave transformed in much the same way as after eating the sweetest possible fruit. The observer of pornography, as I understand it, will leave with a belly full of grease, if you get my metaphor.

    One more aspect to consider: artistic communication tends towards a unification of expression in order to achieve a distilled potency, while I understand pornography, and other commercialized immediate gratification, tends towards a fragmenting process that dissolves meaning. Sexual content in art encompasses the human being on many levels of complexity, rather than fragmenting sexuality from its human context.

  2. nine pearls said,

    HA! If you think that Bang Bus is art, I will have to laugh at you.

    Art can be pornographic, particularly given the sliding scale of what qualifies as “obscene” from culture to culture, and year to year–say, Pin-Up stuff from 50 years ago could be considered art, now. But, mainstream video porno (or even old “stag films”) sold as a product doesn’t qualify as “art” any more than a Snickers bar or a pair of Nikes does.

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