Andy Warhol

In the fall of 1977, Andy Warhol began work on two new series of artworks which would become known as Torsos and Sex Parts. While the Torsos paintings would quickly be praised for following in the “high art” style of classical nudes, the Sex Parts series from which Torsos was borne blurred the line between art and pornography.

In creating the artworks, Warhol was probably inspired by classical nudes and erotic art which have been depicted throughout history. Sexuality in artwork can be found as early as 35,000 BC in central Europe with the erotic sculptures of the Venus of Hohle Fels and later the Venus of Willendorf statuettes, all of which have enlarged breasts and well-defined genitalia. In addition, sexual acts were displayed on vases in Ancient Greece from the 6th Century BC with images of Zeus engaging with his male lover Ganymede, as well as scenes of coitus on Etruscan vases and erotic frescos uncovered in Pompeii. Classical nudes, some homoerotic, are also present in works from the Renaissance, as witnessed in Goya’s Las Maja Desnuda and Titian’s Venus of Urbino. Warhol would have been taught about such historical works during his Art History classes at Carnegie Tech, and their impact is evident in this exhibition.

The seed of the Torsos and Sex Parts series sprouted after a man approached Warhol boasting of his large penis. Warhol agreed to photograph the man’s genitalia and the photographs were placed in a box casually labeled “Sex Parts.” Later, Warhol noticed the wording of the box’s label and conceived the idea for a series of works based on the initial photographs. Subjects for subsequent photo shoots were recruited from gay bath houses by Halston’s boyfriend, the artist and window dresser Victor Hugo. The men were asked to relax, pose, or take part in various sexual activities while Warhol photographed them with a 35mm camera and a Polaroid Big Shot. According to associate Bob Colacello, when confronted on the explicit nature of the photographs sitting around the office Warhol responded, “Just tell them it’s art, Bob. They’re landscapes.” Holy Terror, p. 337

The tamer images became the basis of the Torsos series, which was meant to be exhibited in museums, and which debuted at the Grand Palais in Paris in October 1977. The more sexually-charged artworks were produced as the Sex Parts print portfolio and were intended to be purchased for private collections. But perhaps the underlying reason for their creation was as a tool for Warhol’s ultimate acceptance of his sexuality. Longtime assistant Ronnie Cutrone recalls: “… we always understood it was going to be one of those portfolios that would sit primarily in the back room; that it would take a certain type of collector to appreciate them… But Andy was Catholic and a homosexual…For years, the joke was that Andy called homosexuality a “problem.” Sex Parts was a final announcement or affirmation of his homosexuality.” Unseen Warhol, p.68.

Casually referred to by Warhol as the Cocks, Cunts, and Assholes series, many of the works in this exhibition are on view to the public for the first time.

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Evelina Pentcheva

Featured by CBS Los Angeles as one of the Best Artistic Photographers of Orange County.

Award Winning Photographer at one of the biggest Visual Art Competition Venues in Orange County.

Evelina is born in Eastern Europe and besides an artist and an award winning photographer she is a facilitator of personal transformation and consciousness addict that loves spending time in nature. Evelina’s promise is to take You on a magical journey of self discovery and beauty beyond what the eye can conceive. It’s an experience that will transform Your Whole Being so you can live a life full of potency, ecstasy and limitless possibilities. As a result you will have a real connection to yourself and meaningful relationships with others. When we connect to our self we become Radiant, Glorious and Attractive. That Radiance is captured trough her vision and lens.

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Fernando de la Jara

It is not in 1948, in Lima, Peru, where Fernando de la Jara is born; nor it is at some school of Fine Arts where he learns to paint. He is born and learns, with every picture he paints.

There is no better biography of a painter than his own work. Painting, the place where form and substance become one, in perfect unity, where, thanks to the imagination, all dreams, longings and fears, not only become possible, but also portrays its author. Alone, and full of wonder, I have painted these pictures, full of my persona who I wish inspired. Alone, with them I leave you. Let’s thank the Communion.

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Pauline Zenk

Artist and illustrator, she obtained a Master of Visual Arts, History, and English Literature from the University Christian – Albrechts – Universitaet, Kiel, and the Muthesius Academy of Arts Kunsthochschule Kiel, Germany.

She studied Visual Arts and followed a master’s degree course in painting at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy of Arts, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. She studied Latin American history at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid Ciudad University, Spain.

She was awarded the scholarship “Freemover” by the Academy of Fine Arts, the Muthesius Kiel Germany and Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Her work is in the collection of the Academy of Fine Arts, Muthesius Kunsthochschule Kiel in the hall for new media. (*)

She was artist in residence in the “Drawing Center Taller 7” ( ) in Medellin | Colombia, in “Estudio Lamina” in Sao Paulo | Brazil, and “Les Ateliers du Plessix-Madeuc” (, Corseul (Bretagne) | France, where she researched the collective visual memory of the regions, using Photography and Public/Private Archives as starting points.

Since 2012 Pauline Zenk works in the field of interdisciplinary artistic research projects combining history and art.

Her research is based around the notion of the collective memory. She investigates which images we retain as part of our collective memory, and which images are lost or newly interpreted. Using the traditional mediums of paint and drawing she questions our relation to photographs as part of our collective and cultural memories.

By (re-)working images in paint or drawing she is researching the impact an image can still have today in our image-dominated culture.

She researches and finds these images in archives, museums or private collections. By painting and drawing the found images she reveals the psychological, social and political meaning of the images, often mixing the personal and the political, pointing to the intersection between the history of great events and small men in her depiction and choice of images.

Her work often deals with found imagery (as in magazine ads, TV Screen shots, antique newspapers and old photographs) and deals with the notions of body – portrait – identity as well as the aspects of public versus private and the commercialization of the body; the works in their conjunction – create a dialogue between photography, digital culture and traditional painting.

She often works in the format of artistic research projects which have a cross-cultural and/or regional focus. By visually exploring and re-interpreting cultural and collective memory she reflects on and questions the concept and creation of social and cultural identity.

She is currently researching the interrelationships between portrait, memory and identity in Europe.

Since january 2015, she is working and living in Toulouse, France.

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Marta Wakula-Mac

MA in Fine Art Education| Diploma in Fine Art Printmaking | Institute of Art, Pedagogical University, Krakow, 2003. I Member of Graphic Studio Dublin 2005-2014, Member of ZPAP and STMG Kraków. Works in linocut and etching techniques. She teaches printmaking in Pracownia Graficzna NCK in Nowohuckie Centrum Kultury, Kraków.
Awards include: Honorable award and medal in XVI International Biennale Small Graphics and ExLibris, Ostrow Wlp, Poland, Arts Council Travel and Training Award and a grant from Culture Ireland 2007.

Work in collections: National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, Muzeum Archidiecezjalne in Poznan, Poland; Civic Museum of Cremona, Italy, AIB Bank, TASCQ Dublin, OPW Dublin and private collections.

She has had many solo exhibitions in Ireland and Poland and exhibits regularly in group shows worlwide.

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Joe Okwesa

I’m Joe Okwesa from London. My place of birth was Nigeria.
I’m a photographer and art director For over 20 years I have been building an online image bank.
My online image bank is holding over 900,000 photographs and is called Creating images is my life.
I eat and drink photography

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Édouard-Henri Avril

The near-forgotten Édouard-Henri Avril (1849 – 1928) was an Algerian-born French painter and illustrator of erotic novels whose contributions to 19th century erotica were as immense as they were explicit. Here we look at the impact of Avril’s work, his ability to blur lines between art and erotica and how his erotic illustrations can be particularly telling of attitudes towards sex during the 19th century.

Born in the Algerian capital of Algiers in 1849, Édouard-Henri Avril was an artist perhaps more familiarly known by his pseudonym Paul Avril, under which he produced his most prominent works as an illustrator of several works of erotic literature. Not a great deal of biographical information exists on Avril, perhaps due to the supposedly salacious nature of his work during the time it was produced, and the fact he worked largely under an alias. What is certain, however, is that he made his way to Paris, France where he nurtured his artistic talents at various salons and spent some time studying at the prestigious art school École des Beaux-Arts.

Though a painter at heart who had been exhibiting his art in the salons of Paris from 1878, his big break arrived when Avril was commissioned to illustrate an edition of French poet and novelist Théophile Gautier’s 1838 novel Fortunio, which originally appeared as a serialised version in the French daily newspaper Le Figaro in 1837 and chronicled the escapades of the young French marquis and titular character upon his move to Paris. After illustrating Gautier’s novel, Avril’s reputation as a talented commercial illustrator of novels was established and before long the artist began to accept a number of commissions for works of literature of a more erotic nature – books that, at that time, were more ‘underground’, so to speak, than much erotica today and typically received a very small print run, sometimes limited to around only 100 copies, sold within circles of collectors of erotica.

In 1908 Avril was commissioned to illustrate a later edition of the British novelist John Cleland’s Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, which was first published in England in 1748. More popularly known as Fanny Hill (the name of the novel’s female protagonist), due to its sexual content the book came to be one of the most controversial and banned books in the history of literature – a significant publication that author and historian Julie Peakman writing forHistory Today Magazine describes as ‘a revelation in that it incorporated pornographic scenes in a novelistic form, a feat never previously undertaken in English literature.’ Following the young Fanny Hill from her village home to London, the novel depicts her sexual undoing and the edition featuring Avril’s illustrations contains one of his better known images Les charmes de Fanny exposes.

It was perhaps Avril’s graphic illustrations for an edition of the German scholar and philosopher Friedrich Karl Forberg’s De figuris Veneris two years earlier in 1906 when it was published in French that really established his reputation as an illustrator of erotic novels. The book, originally published by Forberg in 1824, was a collection of ancient Greek and Roman scripts on erotica, now more commonly known and published as the Manual of Classic Erotology in which the writer discusses erotica and sexuality in an objective manner, and Avril’s contributions to the 1906 French edition include several explicit, yet sensual images.

As so little conclusive biographical information exists on Avril it is hard to judge specifically the impact his own images had on society though the ‘underground’ nature of many of the works the artist contributed to. However, their limited print runs, sales within exclusive collectors’ circles and the contentious nature of publications like Fanny Hill, do in fact speak volumes about the way in which erotica was received and perceived during the 19th century. If we look at Avril’s erotic illustrations in the cultural and historical context of their production they are important and revealing artefacts of attitudes towards sex during that time.

In her academic essay A Secretly Sexualised Era: Pornography and Erotica in the 19th Century Anglo-American World, Samantha J. Rose points out the ability of erotica such as the illustrations that Avril produced for many publications to provide a significant understanding of historical sexuality – which in the case of 19th century sexuality may be particularly interesting given the modern-day predilection to view this era as more ‘respectable’: ‘Pornography is also a useful historiographical tool, capable of providing us with a unique insight into several aspects of Victorian sexuality and culture, encapsulating everything from popular sexual fetishes…to the hypocritical nature of this culture of respectability’, says Rose.

Writing for the online magazine Fearless Press writer T. M. Bernard, who specialises in the topics of sex, love and relationships, while assessing the work of Avril notes the propensity of the artist to depict sensual and mutually enjoyable scenes of sex – something that today much sexual imagery lacks; ‘Notice the rapture on the faces of the women, something not usually seen today, where everything is hot and furious, and a woman’s pleasure is often depicted as secondary to the man’s (and the viewers’). What’s more, the images reveal a total lack of pretence or shame. Whatever is being shared and experienced together is mutual and pleasurable,’ says Bernard.

As Bernard goes on to say, a further historically and culturally significant aspect of Avril’s works is that they raise important questions around the blurring of art and pornography – that is, while his illustrations are undoubtedly sexual, they are still beautiful, anatomically correct and representative of Avril’s talents as an artist however they were received at the time of their production; ‘Perhaps at the time they were distributed, in the late 1800s, the establishment was outraged. Today, Avril’s creations are a colourful expression of sexuality from a bygone era, as well as evidence that lines between art and pornography have been blurred before,’ asserts Bernard.

Édouard-Henri Avril can then be judged as an important contributor to 19th century erotica – an artist whose sexual, sensual and beautiful works are particularly telling of attitudes – both public and private – towards sex during this era and an artist who skilfully blurred the distinctions between art and pornography.

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Egon Schiele

With his signature graphic style, embrace of figural distortion, and bold defiance of conventional norms of beauty, Egon Schiele was one of the leading figures of Austrian Expressionism. His portraits and self-portraits—searing explorations of their sitters’ psyches and sexuality—are among the most remarkable of the twentieth century. The artist, who was astoundingly prolific during his brief career, is famous not only for his psychologically and erotically charged oeuvre but for his intriguing biography: his licentious lifestyle marked by scandal, notoriety, and a tragically early death of influenza at age twenty-eight, three days after the death of his pregnant wife, and at a time when he was on the verge of the commercial success that had eluded him for much of his career.

Schiele’s portraits and self-portraits helped re-establish the vitality of both genres with their unprecedented level of emotional and sexual directness and use of figural distortion in place of conventional notions of beauty. Frequently depicting himself or those close to him, Schiele’s portraits often present their sitters in the nude, posed in revealing, unsettling angles—frequently viewed from above—and devoid of secondary attributes often depicted in the portrait genre. At times, Schiele used traditional motifs, giving the intensely personal images a more general, allegorical statement on the human condition.
Creating some three thousand drawings over the course of his brief career, Schiele was both an extraordinarily prolific and unparalleled draughtsman. He regarded drawing as his primary art form, appreciating it for its immediacy of expression, and produced some of the finest examples of drawing in the twentieth century. Even his painterly oeuvre revealed a style that captured some of drawing’s essential characteristics, with its emphasis on contour, graphic mark, and linearity.
Painter Gustav Klimt was the primary influence on Schiele’s development, serving as Schiele’s friend and mentor. While Schiele inherited Klimt’s focus on erotic images of the female form (and shared Klimt’s insatiable sexual appetite), the emotionally intense, often unsettling Expressionist idiom Schiele eventually developed, with its investigation of his sitters’ inner life and emotional states, in some ways directly opposed his mentor’s Art Nouveau–inspired style, with Klimt preferring a more brilliant palette and glimmering, patterned surfaces.

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Allen Jones

A sexual statement seen as so shocking to some that one of Jones’ chairs saw acid thrown at it by a feminist protester, many see Allen Jones’ chair as an equally acidic work of sexual misogyny. Depicting a topless leather-clad woman turned into a piece of furniture, the piece equally plays on fetishism and femininity with its turning of a woman into an object. Whether this is done with a wry sense of humour or out of pure chauvinism, many cannot agree, but no one can deny how radical the piece is as a piece of sexual subversion.

Allen Jones is a British Pop artist best known for his figurative paintings and sculpture. His work is characterized by its sexual imagery and interest in traditional male and female power dynamics, alternating between celebrating and satirizing fetishes and BDSM practices. He was born on September 1, 1937 in Southampton, England and attended the Royal College of Art, where David Hockney and R.B. Kitaj were his classmates. Though Jones was expelled from the school after only one year, he went on to be included in the seminal 1961 “Young Contemporaries” exhibition, credited by the British Press with launching the English Pop Art movement. He moved to New York in 1964, where he began developing his signature erotic aesthetic. His painting Perfect Match (1966), depicting a topless and semi-abstracted woman, would mark a turning point in his art. In 1970, his installation Hatstand, Table, and Chair—three furniture pieces constructed out of female BDSM mannequins—became his most famous and controversial work. Jones now teaches was elected a Royal Academician at the Royal College of Art, where a large retrospective of his work was staged in 2015.

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Julien Mandel

Julian Mandel is the identity given to one of the best-known commercial photographers of female nudes of the early twentieth century.

Signature photography bearing that name became known in the 1910s and was published in Paris through the mid-1930s by such firms as Alfred Noyer, Les Studios, P-C Paris, and the Neue Photographische Gesellschaft.Biographical information on Mandel is scarce and there has been speculation that the name is only a pseudonym.

The models often are found in highly arranged classical poses, photographed both in-studio and outdoors. The images are composed artfully, with exquisite tones and soft use of lighting—showing a particular texture created by light rather than shadow.Reportedly, Mandel was a member of, and participated in, the German avant-garde “new age outdoor” or “plein air” movement.

Numerous pictures sold under this name feature natural settings, playing on the ultra pale, uniform skin tones of the women set against the roughness of nature.The nude photographs were marketed in a postcard-sized format, but as “A Brief History of Postcards” explains, “A majority of the French nude postcards were called postcards because of the size.

They were never meant to be postally sent. It was illegal to send such images in the post. The size enabled them to be placed readily into jacket pockets, packages, and books.

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