We all knew Pop Art's resident blond was an oddball, but who knew Andy Warhol could get so freaky? An upcoming exhibition in Paris entitled "Torsos" and "Sex Parts" shows the proto-hipster blending the line between art and pornography.
While nude figures and homoerotic sexuality has been dominant in art since classical times, Warhol's artsy crotch-shots evoke the Polaroid porn that was gaining popularity in the '70s. According to The Warhol Museum, the artist was inspired to capture the male sex organ uncensored when a stranger approached him and bragged about his well-endowed anatomy. Warhol photographed the parts in question and then put the snapshots in a box simply labelled "Sex Parts."
Soon men from gay bath houses and sex clubs were being recruited to Andy's infamous Factory to offer up their genitalia for 15 minutes of fame. Warhol's explicit close-ups contrast beautifully with his aesthetic ironic distance, as even the most taboo of images becomes kind of boring when repeated in such impersonal, rapid succession. This Warholian doubling of fascination and boredom seems to dominate contemporary photography today, whether looking at Nobuyoshi Araki's bondage photos or the latest Urban Outfitters catalogue.
While Warhol was all about photographing the intimate zones of others, he kept his own notoriously under wraps. “Everything is sexual to Andy without the sex act actually taking place,” according to the "legendary cultural catalyst" Charles Henri Ford. “He doesn’t like to take his pants off or for anybody to touch him.”
"Torsos" is undoubtedly the tamer half of the exhibition, drawing on the classical nude aesthetic and adding Pop pizazz. The gaggle of chiseled busts debuted at the Grand Palais in Paris in 1977, while their naughty counterparts were kept for private collectors... until now.
A hundred never-before-seen images capturing male forms both suitable for work and not so much will show together at the Galleries Nationales du Grand Palais in Paris from October 18 until October 21, 2012.
Does Warhol cross the line with his crotch-tastic shock tactics? Are these images still shocking today? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
In case you didn't get the hint, this slideshow is definitely NSFW: