Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Fine Art, Erotic Art and Pornography

Like most of us, I too am a somewhat complex person, and I enjoy very different kinds of art. I wouldn’t want to restrict my own personal sensibilities any more than I would wish to restrict, for example, those of my readers. Labels can be useful in certain contexts, but essentially a true sense of life always reaches beyond categories and labels.

I love art generally – profoundly, passionately and purely (as in, for its own sake).

I especially love ‘fine art’, i.e. painting, photography and sculpture. And, for the sake of discussing distinctions, I should say that this by natural extension includes ‘artistic nudes’.

I also enjoy specifically ‘erotic art’ (though, of course, ‘fine art’ can in itself be intensely erotic without necessarily being labelled as ‘erotic art’ per se).

And I also like ‘pornography’.

I love many other creative disciplines as well, but it is particularly as concerns art, erotic art and pornography that I wanted to clarify my views here, because people’s sensibilities can be affected quite dramatically in venturing between, or reacting to, these different ‘categories’.

As concerns art, erotic art and pornography, then, the main thing I would like to say is that I realise that in many ways these categories are indeed very different from each other, and I recognise the distinctions between them very clearly. The three different fields can have very distinctive criteria, objectives and sensibilities. But I like all three, and want to be clear that I appreciate each for its own sake, according to its own distinct criteria, without lumping them all together.

If an artist does, say, nude work and clarifies that they do not consider their work to be aspiring to the erotic, I believe, understand and respect that individual’s approach, and I personally will take their work on the terms they delineate. Most particularly as one artist to another. Fully recognising the artist’s right to self-determination. Without artistic self-determination, there is no art. The truly incredible Alberto Giacometti is a wonderful example that springs to mind.

I love the range of sensibilities evident in erotic art, from the subtle to the downright coarse. And I also love pornography, not everything of course (who does?) but a variety of different kinds of porn, and I don’t want to pretend that I don’t, because that would be dishonest and in fact diminish my own work of erotic fiction which is itself in a very positive sense, I would argue, very pornographic.

Personally, I love the exploration and affirmation of human sexuality through art. Hey, call me a deviant if you wish, but without sex, neither you nor I would be here to discuss either our own sexuality or the distinctions between art and porn. It’s a bit like breathing and eating and using the internet; it’s one of the fundamentals. So why ignore it? It’s part of being human.

As concerns porn, then, I find that I want to be honest about my love of porn just as much as I do about my love of, say, Turner, or Rembrandt, and I want to appreciate the dignity and rights of those individuals in porn as much as those of any other artist, and in fact I support advocacy of performer rights for those in pornography. I believe respect, autonomy (by which I mean self-determination) and fair working rights for porn performers should be universally recognised. Enough of the dirty secrets, and more of the dirty honesty. Not to mention fairness and justice.

But, and this is crucial to my point here, my enjoyment of porn does not in any way diminish my enjoyment or understanding of, say, ‘artistic nudes’, or ‘fine art’ generally. And it does not to any degree diminish my respect for any artist’s dignity, creativity, self-identified criteria or aspirations if an artist identifies their work as being distinct from ‘pornography’. Any more than my enjoyment of porn in any way to any degree affects my respect and appreciation of, for example, Vermeer and his work.

I can appreciate, understand, recognise and respect distinctions between ‘fine art’, ‘erotic art’ and ‘pornography’. I just happen to enthusiastically enjoy and appreciate all of these, and do so on their own merits. And I’m okay with this. I can deal with this. And I sincerely I hope you can too.

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