“Las Vegas-based Iranian artists Ali Fathollahi and Nanda Sharifpour landed in Istanbul, Turkey, the day before the terrorist attacks at Ataturk Airport this summer, finding themselves once again in a heightened political landscape where violence shakes and defines reality.
As jarring as it was, it was familiar terrain for Fathollahi, who’d spent six months of his childhood living in an underground shelter in Tehran with his sister and parents, attempting to survive Saddam Hussein’s missile attacks during the Iran-Iraq war, an experience that plays out in his solo exhibit, Adolescence, on view through September 24 at Sin City Gallery.” > Read More
The annual juried exhibition 12 Inches of Sin has become a five-star smorgasbord of provocative art. Brought to us by Sin City Gallery, the much-anticipated show has emerged as an iconic must-see exhibit, complete with an accompanying annual and highly collectable art book. In this innovative setting, Dr. Henkel has taken on the challenge of raising questions about what is erotic and what qualifies as art, and the complex relationship and considerable gray area between the two genres.
I have had the great honor of serving four years as a juror for the 12 Inches of Sin competition and fine art exhibition. During my time, the submissions have grown not only in quantity but also in quality and diversity.
In my own life, and as a juror, I have observed that art has a highly personal character and contains its own enigma. Great art is not always that most esteemed in the art world, and in my opinion, it seems that some of the best and most inspiring art has come from the self-taught artists who has yet to be accepted by the art world. And yet, today, in its fifth year, the 12 Inches of Sin exhibition features work that is made by those who are formally trained in the fine arts, as well as those who are self-taught. This diversity is also seen in the references to sexual preferences whether straight, gay, lesbian, transgender, objectification, anamorphic, or just the feeling that it is sexual.
Erotica is a highly charged topic fueled by cultural opinions, based in the secrets of attraction, sexual constructs, religious dogma, social opinion, personal bias, and our own triggers for titillation. Our culture has a way of creating a sense of mystery around the erotic, and this in turn shapes our behavior. For proof of this phenomenon, we can just look to the sheer number of euphemisms we have for coitus. The power of sex and the allure of the erotic are co-opted by advertising while the political system uses ideas of sex to create fear.
Dr. Henkel’s exhibit showcases artistic interpretation of our erotic behavior. It is my opinion that this kind of work helps liberate the phobic veil that contemporary culture manufactures around our sexuality. Please enjoy the show and I hope it will provide each audience member a moment in time to question their opinions about both art and eroticism and all that lies in-between.
~ Will Roger Peterson, Cultural Founder, Burning Man
Does size really matter? It is said there are two types of people in the world: size queens and liars. For 12 Inches of Sin, the Sin City Gallery’s inaugural erotic art exhibition juried by an eclectic group of academics, perverts, and academic perverts handpicked by prominent erotologist Dr. Laura Henkel, both size and content are the organizing principles. Attempting to maximize usage of the intimate gallery space, the size constraint for submissions assured there could be a greater number of accepted and exhibited works at Las Vegas’ premiere gallery of erotic art. An equal division of the foot—itself a common fetish object— 12 Inches is a sly allusion to that length to which many aspire, but few attain. Sex, like life, is a game of inches, and so is its depiction in the surprising and remarkable works in Volume I.
As two-hundred-square-foot micro-apartments proliferate in major cities, our private space is shrinking. In polite society, erotic art cannot be openly displayed in the home, office, church, temple, or mosque. It must be hidden in closets, drawers, or buried in the woods, only to be appreciated up close and very personal. These diminutive works may arouse or disturb, and may attract or repulse; it all depends on you. This brings us to the sticky concept of sin, etymologically derived from guilt, misdeed, and error. Though all of the seven deadly sins contribute to Vegas’ nickname, the gallery and this exhibition focus squarely on lust alone. A universal definition of erotic art, negotiating that sharp edge in the shadowy realm differentiating it from pornography, has proved elusive. United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Potter Stewart said that hardcore pornography was hard to define, but “I know it when I see it.” Though he later recanted this position as untenable, he was definitely on the right track. Applying Occam’s razor to this thorny problem, I submit this simple test: if you can masturbate to it, it is porn. Sexual content that does not incite masturbation is erotic. While this test is admittedly highly subjective, it is truly the only one that makes any sense. There is no accounting for taste, or even a taste for accounting. We live in an age where we are defined culturally and individually by Internet porn searches; the data cloud is analyzed in real time, yielding a dynamic map of the global sexual psyche. If we have learned anything, it is that anything can be fetishized.
With the Made in Heaven series, Jeff Koons and Cicciolina smashed the barrier between pornography and fine art. Kim Kardashian’s ubiquitous ass is mainstream entertainment. It is anybody’s game. The images in this exhibition seep into the moist dark cracks of our minds, turning us on, and tuning us in to what each of us brings to the party. Try as you might, you cannot help what you like.
~ By Henry S. Rosenthal, Artist & Art Patron, San Francisco
“The realism that Sorayama portrays in his work is not only plausible, it is attainable.” ~ Henkel, The Creators Project
“Sin City Gallery’s annual juried art show of erotic art always provokes and inspires, but this year, is doing so on an unparalleled scale. Gallerist Laura Henkel has promised a selection of not only the winners of the competition, but the runners-up.” ~ Geoff Carter/Vegas Rated Magazine > Read More
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Get ready for an immersion of art and music. Sin City Gallery is proud to be part of the amazing mix of artists at the Art Motel for Life Is Beautiful. > Read More