Apr 3, 2017

Keeping an Open Mind at the Museum of Sex

Recently, some friends of mine came to town, and they decided they wanted to check out the Museum of Sex. I hadn’t been there before, and it wasn’t high on my list of things to do in New York. It always seemed like kind of a joke to me. As it turns out, the Museum of Sex is kind of a joke, but it also aims to provide an earnest presentation of art, biology, and sexuality.

The “OBJECTXXX” exhibition featured artifacts from the museum’s archive. My friend wondered aloud, “Wow, I feel bad for whoever has to handles these acquisitions.” I had to agree. These objects were various sexual devices, toys, dolls, contraceptives, and even Hugh Hefner’s smoking jacket. On view in the center of the gallery was a bicycle contraption serving as a very complex sex toy, complete with footage showing how it worked. While the majority of these objects weren’t very old, some dated as far back as 1900, offering a historical perspective of human sexuality. 

“The Sex Lives of Animals” exhibition claims that “Sex in the animal kingdom is as nuanced as it is in the human realm.” Developed in collaboration with a number of scientists, evolutionary biologists, and zoologists, the exhibition was extremely informative. Text on the walls explained the behaviors of many different animal species, proving that sexual behavior in animals varies widely and goes far beyond the purpose of reproduction, which is true of human behavior as well. There were also a lot of sculptures and videos in this exhibition. My friends and I are no prudes, but even we felt a bit scandalized by the sights and sounds in the room.

I’m glad I went to the Museum of Sex and looked beyond my preconceived notions of it. A lot of people do think of this museum as a good place to have some laughs, and that’s fair. After all, for an extra charge you can jump around in boob-shaped bounce house. Yet having said that, my friends and I actually learned a thing or two in the hour we spent there, and I saw just how much work went into curating these exhibitions.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.