Sexuality in Art

an exploration of sexuality, feminism, LGBT issues, and other related topics in the contemporary art world.

Lady Gaga discusses art and sexuality on set | PORTER magazine

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I don’t always… “agree” with what Lady Gaga says and does but I have to say that I do respect her as an artist, and as hard as it is to admit, I can sometimes actually identify with some of her artistic philosophies.

However, this video kind of annoys me. She seems like she’s trying to claim that her own sexuality and sexual identity are totally separate from her work, which I kind of feel like isn’t true. As a celebrity, your identity is your brand. I don’t know her personally so I can’t speak to her but her music, videos, and performances often have a highly sexual nature and since she writes all or most of her music it would be very difficult to keep all of that separate from your own identity.

I kind of feel like she’s just trying to be “cool” and have this sort of androgynous hippie vibe with this video and as much as she’s done for the LGBT community, I personally feel like she doesn’t always totally get it – especially when it comes to gender fluidity and queer culture. But maybe I’m just mad because she has a lot of money and I don’t.

I don’t know, watch the video and decide for yourself! Let me know what you think in the comments!


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Calm Beauty // Confronting a Demon // The Work of Kelly Surdo

Kelly Surdo is a 22 year old photographer based in Portland, OR. She majored in Photography at SUNY New Paltz and now has work up on Flickr, Tumblr, and Instagram. Her work has a uniquely quiet and subtle sexual nature which she says comes naturally. Her complex relationship with sex and sexuality is a journey she explores through the camera.

“I have a complicated and frightening relationship with sex and how it relates to intimacy,” Surdo confessed, “There is a close proximity I like getting to with people, sometimes in a way that hurts me, sometimes in a way that I’m in control of and feels reassuring.”

Surdo says that viewing the world through a lens was a natural process from an early age and has helped her to better understand her own life and relationships, as well as her identity as both an artist and as a gender fluid individual.

View the full interview and some of Surdo’s work here.

Sharmistha Ray, Growing Up in an Islamic Culture as an Indian Lesbian Artist

Artist Sharmistha Ray has spent her life moving between India, the Middle East and the United States, discovering, layer by layer, her own sense of self, sexual identity and artistic vision in contrast or harmony with each new environment. Now, as her latest exhibition Reflections + Transformations is set to open at the Aicon Gallery in New York City on October 24, she tells the TED Blog about how her journey has unfolded so far, taking her from figurative art to abstraction and back to vibrant colors and lush, sensual textures that celebrate and reclaim the female body.

“Growing up gay in a traditional Indian family in an Islamic society in Kuwait also created its own displacement. I experienced oppression very early on within my family and society. My sexuality, which started to emerge in my early teens, was a terrifying realization for me. I lived in mortal fear of anyone knowing my dark secret. But ironically, the fear also bore my love for art. It was through art that I was finally able to find my own voice.”

I find that this speaks volumes and has relevance to many issues. Many artists express that their life struggles and internal battles fuel their art and that their most difficult times result in some of their best art. Sharmistha certainly has plenty of content to reflect upon. Religious issues and conflicts with feminism and sexuality as well as her own sexuality in the context of her Indian heritage, and then what all of that means for her as a contemporary artist. This results in not only an intriguing interview with ted.com, but can be viewed in her vivid and unique art itself.


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Losing Virginity as an Art Form

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This recent article recently appeared on the Huffington Post. The young artist featured, 19-year-old Clayton David Pettet, is planning on losing his virginity in front of a live audience as a piece of performance art.

The artist student’s former work has explored the concept of sexuality in various ways, mainly through the use of photography. But he claimed in the Huff Post article that in this next endeavor, he was planning to go beyond just sexuality into the convention of virginity and how the concept differs for men, especially homosexual men.

The idea is certainly controversial, but does bring some important issues to the surface. Is the concept of virginity sexist and outdated? Is it made up? But beyond that, it pushes the envelope of contemporary art. What makes it art and not pornography? In this post-postmodernist world, are there any boundaries left as far as what qualifies as art? This question has been asked for decades, most notably beginning with Dada and Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain and will probably continue to be asked for decades to come as the boundaries of the art world continue to disappear.