Kinsey Art Gallery Review – Private Eyes

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Artwork on display for "Private Eyes: Amateur Works from the Kinsey Institute Collection" includes one-of-a-kind homemade erotic artifacts.

Photo: Anonymous USA Prison Inmate

Part of a piece of artwork by an anonymous prison inmate donated to the Kinsey Institute in 1953

A few years ago, at a conference for the Society of the Scientific Study of Sexuality, I had my first tour of The Kinsey Institute art gallery. Coincidently, the art show on exhibit at that time was the Kinsey Confidential exhibit. This exhibit was inspired by questions that readers of Kinsey Confidential asked, answered through artistic expression. At that time, I was unaware that I would become a student at IU, let alone eventually be blogging about the newest art show on exhibit at The Kinsey Institute.

The current exhibit, on display now through April 2, 2010, is called Private Eyes: Amateur Works from The Kinsey Institute Collection. I’m certainly not an art expert, but I figured since this is an amateur show, it would be appropriate for me, an amateur art appreciator, to comment on my observations of the exhibit.

Amateur Erotic Art

Amateur art allows for a unique freedom for the artist to share their personality with the audience. There is no shortage of that in Private Eyes. The personalities, and in particular the sense of humor, of the artists are evident. As one of the curators of the art exhibit put it, “the unabashed lewdness and crudeness of these subterranean artifacts set them apart from professionally produced materials.”

Prison Inmate Art

A great deal of the work presented at Private Eyes was donated to The Kinsey Institute in the 1950s from prisoners across the USA. One very unique feature of the inmate art on display is the incredible creativity that was necessary to create such pieces. As you can imagine, prisoners would have minimal access to materials necessary to create art. However, this did not impact the complexity of what was produced. My personal favorite demonstration of creativity was a soap carving. The soap was carved into an incredibly detailed rendition of sexual intercourse with a goat.

Artifacts

In addition to the print art, there are also a number of structural artifacts on display at the gallery during this show. A constantly streamed video is playing to demonstrate how all of these homemade one-of-a-kind artifacts work.

There are also a number of creative erotic Valentines on display at Private Eyes that were donated to The Kinsey Institute. This exhibit would be a great Valentine’s Day date idea for those of you looking to get into the spirit of love this time of year!

Overall, I can assure you that making a trip to the Kinsey Institute Gallery to explore Private Eyes would be an experience you will not forget. It left me intrigued about the lives of those amateur artists who contributed their work to the exhibit…once you check it out, I have no doubt you’ll agree!

Kristen Mark, PhD, MPH

completed her PhD in Health Behavior and her MPH in Biostatistics, both at Indiana University. Kristen is an Assistant Professor in Health Promotion at University of Kentucky. Kristen's research focuses on sexual pleasure, sexuality in long term relationships, sexual function, and women's sexuality.
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Comments

  • bettysmorgas

    Peace. I don't know about art, but I know what I like. Nuff said.