You've probably heard it a million times before, but it bears repeating: Art is entirely subjective. Be it a pretty watercolor or a sculpture made of human blood, it's not up to us to say whether something is or isn't art ... unless of course you're talking about the following projects, all of which seem to be using the "art" banner as nothing more than a flimsy excuse for their creators to live out their weird sexual fantasies in public.
Here, tell us we're wrong:
We've never met the Japanese artist Namio Harukawa, but we can say one thing for certain about him: He likes big butts and he cannot lie. And if he tries to deny it, well, we'll need him to explain this shit, then:
Most people like to keep their unorthodox fetishes to themselves and the weird guy with the ponytail who works the counter at the corner adult store. Not Namio, though. He's actually been pretty open about his love for women that can wear men like a G-string, as seen in, say, his Garden Of Domina, an exhibition at the Paris Museum Of Eroticism. It depicts a sexually dominant and gigantic-assed cosmetics executive who creates a "Garden Of Paradise" where she and her friends sit atop the faces of submissive men and occasionally ride them like horses ... not like how you're picturing it, though.
Namio's greatest body of work, though, is probably a series titled Ecstasy Under Her, which has been featured in the virtual Museum Of Femdom Art and consists of 916 drawings of the one thing you'd expect to find at a museum dedicated to female domination. All jokes aside, that is actually very impressive, mainly because Namio probably drew those 900-plus pictures with one hand underneath his desk the entire time.
Cheng Li via archief.motleysalon.com (NSFW)
The commercialization of art is a complicated subject that many artists tried to penetrate, though none more literally than Chinese artist Cheng Li. Attempting to metaphorically link the artist profession to prostitution, Li's 2011 Art Whore exhibition at the Contemporary Art Exhibition Hall in Beijing saw Cheng physically linking his genitalia to those of his female assistant.
The live, non-simulated coitus was carried out in front of a handpicked audience so as not to turn the risque project into some kind of low-brow sex show. But midway through it, Cheng decided to fuck the rules in addition to his partner, and he took his installation from the basement of the museum to the balcony.
Cheng Li via Cabina 14 (NSFW)
Needless to say, the Chinese government wasn't too crazy about the stunt and promptly sentenced Cheng to one year in a labor camp for intentionally creating a public disturbance, which frankly shocks us. Not because China is censoring "art" (that's sort of what they do), or because Cheng is innocent. It's pretty hard to argue with the disturbance charge.
Cheng Li via Cabina 14 (NSFW)
No, what shocks us is that Cheng wasn't able to talk his way out of the whole thing despite his negotiation skills being out of this world. See, the 57-year-old is actually married, and not to the woman he was balls-deep in during Art Whore. Before the show, he had to sit his wife down and explain to her that he wanted to boink a younger woman in front of his friends and critics, and she actually agreed to it, saying later: "I can't see that he did anything that crossed the boundary from art [into crime]. I understand him."
Cheng Li via Cabina 14 (NSFW)
Where does art come from? From the heart? The brain? It's impossible to answer that, because "art" means different things to different people, and it needs to be examined on a case-by-case basis. For example, in Jordan McKenzie's case, his drawings all come from his dick and balls, because they are literally just a collection of his ejaculations.
The British artist's 2008 Spent exhibition, featured at the Centre For Recent Drawing in London, is a series of 56 canvases that McKenzie has orgasmed on and then sprinkled graphite powder over. The framed baby batter prints are essentially a diary of the artist's happy time, as each piece is accompanied by the time and date it was "recorded." And we've got to say, that seems like quite a bit of jizz there. So, congratulations, we guess?
We suppose we do admire McKenzie for being able to turn what we do every day into art that people want to show off in galleries, even if we don't exactly understand its message, unless that message is, "A guidance counselor in high school told me to find a way to make money doing what I love, and I just assume this is what he meant."
On a similar theme ...
Vito Acconci via bmoreart.com (NSFW)
Performance artists are the easiest group of people to make fun of. In movies, they're always doing something gross and nonsensical like dripping paint while suspended naked from a harness, but that's a little insulting, because obviously not all performance art involves trying to shock strangers with unsettling public nudity. Although, to be totally fair, a real performance artist did once spend a couple of days masturbating inside a New York gallery, and he got away with it by calling it "art."
Bernadette Mayer via Pratt Institute (NSFW)
In 1971, Vito Acconci created an installation called Seedbed, which involved him hiding underneath a wooden ramp in Manhattan's Sonnabend Gallery and aggressively pulling his pud while narrating the experience into a mic that broadcast his dirty thoughts throughout the building. According to Acconci, the ramp was a physical barrier that allowed him to become more uninhibited, which is probably why he didn't need any nudie mags down there with him. The point of the installation was for Acconci to listen to the sound of the visitors' chitchat and footsteps and imagine what they might look like and what he might do to them after, say, walking them home at the end of a really great date.
Vito Acconci via mutualart.com (NSFW)
On the one hand, the project does bring up interesting questions about the power of imagination when it comes to sexual arousal. On the other hand, Acconci's masturbation broadcasts did include gems like: "You're ramming your cock down into my ass!"
You can watch clips from the performance here, but we have a feeling you really needed to be there to get the full effect.
As some of you might know from secondhand accounts or firstpenis experiences, Grindr is a dating app that offers gay men a hassle-free way of hooking up. It's a simple enough concept, but Dutch artist Dries Verhoeven felt that something was missing from his Grindr experience. Namely, getting to make pancakes with someone. And, no, that wasn't a euphemism.
Thankfully." width="350" height="233" class="lazy" data-src="https://s3.crackedcdn.com/phpimages/article/8/5/0/419850_v1.jpg" />Hebbel am Ufer Berlin via Queerty
Apparently, after using Grindr for its intended, mansexual purposes for years, Verhoeven started to grow bored with the app and decided to test out its potential for making deep, personal connections with other people, in a way that only an artist can: by erecting a 45-foot-long glass enclosure in the middle of a popular Berlin square, where everyone could watch him eat, sleep, and use Grindr to try to get some man-on-man, strictly platonic action.
Hebbel am Ufer Berlin via Queerty
With his Wanna Play performance, Verhoeven hoped to lure Grindr users inside his new home for a game of chess, some casual conversation, and the aforementioned pancake-making to satisfy his nonsexual needs. At least that's the official version. But we sort of get the feeling that he must've known that no one would willingly enter a Hannibal Lecter cell in the middle of a public square (which, bizarrely, makes it more creepy), especially after being invited there through an anonymous sex app.
But just to make extra sure that no one would get in the way of what is presumably an exhibitionist kink of some kind, the "artist" actively dissuaded any potential guests by projecting their Grindr chats on the walls of his house, though he did blur their faces.
Hebbel am Ufer Berlin via Queerty
Sadly, numerous complaints ended Wanna Play five days into its intended 15-day run. The world just wasn't ready for it, man!
It's fun to juxtapose beloved childhood icons with adult sexuality. That's what makes jokes about the Muppets having fists jammed into their nether regions so great. Like, we know that they are just lifeless puppets operated by animators, but the thought that they are living creatures that are constantly having their colons stuffed by their handlers is just hilarious. Seeing it reenacted on stage with real-life people, though? NOT SO FUNNY NOW, IS IT?!?
Case in point: During a 2009 show at Toronto's Buddies In Bad Times theater, performance artist Jess Dobkin dressed up as Kermit The Frog and had her female partner fist her while she lip-synced the classic song "It's Not Easy Being Green." But please ration your confusion carefully, because we still haven't even mentioned that Dobkin's "costume" was just a Kermit collar, a pair of frog flippers, and gallons of green body paint. Oh, and her "puppeteer" partner was dressed as Jim Henson, which we only bring up because the man was technically the father of the Muppets and we were worried that you weren't sufficiently freaked out by this journey into madness.
Jess Dobkin via V-Tape (NSFW)
Whatever vague message about feminism or pop culture people were supposed to glean from the show was almost certainly overshadowed by the audience's collective heartbreak from watching their childhood get quite literally fist-blasted in front of their eyes. And, honestly, what would Miss Piggy say about all of this? It's like these guys have no respect for the Muppets canon or something.
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For more ways to make yourself into an art snob, check out 6 WTF Works Of Art That Required An Insane Amount Of Effort and 5 Mind-Blowing Works Of Art (That You Aren't Allowed To See).