ASC Fall 2019: The world Erotic Art by Abigael Derlise

Erotic Art is Not Porn

STUDENT BIO

A picture containing wall, indoor, person

Description automatically generated

STUDENT BIO

Abigael J. Derlise is a senior majoring in International Business with a certificate in International Trade and Investment at Florida International University. After graduation, she plans on pursuing a career in supply chain and operation. She will be the first one in her family to graduate college. She loves adventure, traveling, reading, and dancing. She is also very passionate about helping children, especial the orphans because she believes that they are the future. Her long-term goal is to build schools and orphanages in third world counties. 

GEOGRAPHY

View of the WEAM, photo by Abigael

The World Erotic Art Museum (WEAM) is located on Washington Avenue and 12th Street on the second floor of the Wilzig building, and there is a Starbucks on the first floor. On Washington Avenue, around the museum, there are a few night clubs and few restaurants. The wolf museum is one block north from the WEAM. The WEAM is at a five minutes’ walk from the beach makes it very accessible to the public. People can explore the museum after hanging out on the beach or before clubbing at night. The Weam is well situated; consider tourist flight from all over to visit South Beach.

HISTORY

The World Erotic Art Museum, located on Washington and 12th street, in Miami, was founded by Naomi Wilzig in 2005 after her son, Ivan Wilzig, started decorating his apartment with erotic art. Naomi Wilzig, who was the widow of Siggi Wilzig, a holocaust survivor, was originally a fine antique collector who knew nothing of erotic art. Seeing the potential for the art genre, she spent 15 years traveling the world searching high and low for the pieces that would make up the greatest erotic art collection. Her travels took Wilzig to many countries in Asia, Europe, Africa, and beyond and led to many discoveries. Her discoveries included but were not limited to fertility amulets in Greece and Egypt to a 25 pound naturally occurring geode in Brazil that is shaped as penis, to the shunga books which are written prints of sexual acts that were rumored to have been used for instructional materials for newlywed nobles in the 17th to 19th centuries. Wilzig faced a considerable uphill battle to find a suitable location to showcase her collection. Many cities from St. Petersburg to other cities did not greenlight the creation of the museum stating that it was too similar to adult entertainment. The main reasoning for the thought of adult entertainment stems from the extreme amount of puritanical beliefs within our country. Erotic art and depictions are considered to be extremely rescued and inappropriate by many, especially when seen outside of the privacy of one’s dwelling. As a result of the U.S.’s religious views, the World Erotic Art Museum (WEAM) is the only major collection of erotic art outside of the Erotic Heritage Museum in Las Vegas. Willig did not allow that to define her work as Miami opened to be accepting of her work. The Washington area is a great place for the WEAM as it hosts a large nightlife scene attracting a more open crowd of people.

MISSION
This mission of WEAM is simple; it is “We collect, preserve and present works of erotic art of the highest quality from diverse cultures. We embrace our responsibility to engage and educate our community, to contribute to cultural knowledge and erotic art history.”. The purpose of the museum is not only to collect works of erotic art, but to also educate the community on the history and future of erotic works as well as why it is important to have erotic works of art. With today’s society lacking the knowledge and accepting the culture, the need of WEAM promoting and teaching the history and importance of erotic art is an important step towards a future where more museums and locations can showcase erotic art.

 ACCESS

Entrance


The WEAM is located inside of the WILZIG Museum building. The admission desk is on the first floor in the lobby. The only to get to the museum is through the elevator, which is 100 feet from the front desk. Only those 18 years or over are allowed in the museum. There are no special discounts for students, military, seniors, and residents at the WEAM. The museum does not have a membership program. The museum has monthly special events to give free access to the public. General Admission – $20

There is a combination ticket rate to encourage more people to visit the George Daniel Museum.

Combination Ticket – $25

Combination Ticket for Students, Military, Seniors (+60) – $18

COLLECTION
The WEAM has different artist from all over the world in a collection. Some of the most important collections are The Realism, The P and P, and Native North America.

The WEAM has different artists from all over the world in a collection. Some of the most important collections are Realism, The P and P, and Native North America. 

The Realism collection has T Watson – American Artist – bronze polychromed sculpture c. 2000 and Franz Dietz– oil on canvas. 

Franz Dietz, the artist, paints women entangled with one another in a vertical pillar-like structure. The pile of bodies seems disorganized and unintentional, however within the chaos is order. Each woman is vital in maintaining the integrity of the structure.

T Watson sculptures depict a central theme: self exploration and sensual femininity. Masturbation often has a negative stigma attached to the act in western cultures. This artists creates liberty in self expression through these sculptures. 

A picture containing photo, different, showing, wall

Description automatically generated
T watson- bronze polychromed sculpture, Franz Dietz- oil on canvas c.1950


 P and P Collection consist of unknown artists.

Vagina wall- imagine entering a home and seeing this work hanging on someone’s wall. There is something definitely remarkable about it: firstly, the shape of the piece is not on the usual square or rectangle canvas. It’s in the oblong shape of the vulva. The wall depicts the true uniqueness of a woman’s genitalia. Each one looks blatantly different from the other, which adds an air of personification and relatability.

Wall of Vaginas- Unknown artist
Wall of vaginas- unknown artist,

Gold sparkly- the artist intertwines ‘glitz n’ glam’ with smut. This figure is bedazzled with jewels that make it look quite expensive. It’s a paradox that challenges the mind, and it’s conditioning to social norms.

Display case of dildos- Looking at this display case of dildos is almost like window shopping for shoes or jewelry at a mall. The case has a plethora of varieties ranging from a dildo-banana to a mug with a penis as the spout. The setup of these sex toys and trinkets normalizes the exhibition of inanimate sex objects.

Native North America

African Indigenous figurines- the ultimate display of male fertility is shown via these wood carvings. They seem to have the same origin (even though some sculptures were found in central/South America while others were found in Africa) because more than half of the figures had exaggerated genitalia often extending to the ground. These male figurines are the counterparts to the well-known Venus Figurines dating to the Neolithic era, whose robust features represent female fertility and vitality. 

African Sculptures- Unknown artist
Native African- unknown artist


EXHIBITIONS

 Currently, all the exhibitions at the World Erotic Art Museum are permanent.  

SPECIAL EVENTS 

The World Erotic Art Museum has several informational events from how to talk to your kids about porn to how to lick a vagina. 

Sketchy Nudes: is a monthly event where students from different drawing levels come to WEAM for a figure drawing class with a live nude model. Students usually receive critics from a well-known artist. 

Yoga for better sex: is a yoga class taught by sexologist and yoga instructor Sonjia Kenya. The class combines aspects of yoga strategies to provide a secure place for learners to connect to their inner sensual self. 

Tea & sex is a monthly event where people come together for a roundtable discussion to explore a variety of topics related to human sexuality. 

VISITOR

In-person interview with a first-time visitor named Shania at the WEAM 

Q1 “What made you visit the World Erotic Art today?”

I came to the museum to explore more outside of what my parents told. Growing up, sex was not hidden from me, unlike other people. I know a lot of parents do not talk to their kids about sex. 

Q2 “What is your favorite piece?”

I like Chinese Art because it looks like a cradle to a temple. 

A close up of a piece of paper

Description automatically generated
Japanese art- unknown artist

Q3 “Do you remember anything you read from the labels?”

I was trying to memorize the wooden sculptures of African Art, but most of the artist’s names and origins were unknown. 

Q4 “What comments do you have on the museum?”

I like it, and I am glad that I came. There are a lot of pieces from different places, and I have never seen a sexual art from an African tribe. I like the layout because it’s not too confusing. One thing I don’t like is that the museum didn’t provide enough information. Anything they could have provided should have been provided. It would be nice to know where certain arts came from. 

Q5 “How would you describe the most memorable part of your visit today?”

I walked in and the shock of seeing everything. I know it’s an erotic museum, and I was expecting to see them — the shock and slowly getting used to being comfortable in the museum. 

Q6 “If you could describe the collections in one word, what would it be? 

I would say notable, but that is not enough to describe them. The collections are unforgettable and remarkable. They will definitely be engraved in my memory. 

PORTRAIT

 In-person interview with the WEAM manager Geovanny.

Q1 “What inspired you to manage the museum?”

I knew the collector; I grew up with her, and I understand the significance of her collection. To open a museum like this, one requires the right person, second the financial means to do it. Having those two combines is a lifetime opportunity. In another word, she’s my inspiration. 

Q2 “What do you like most about working here?”

The diversity of the people who come to visit from all over the world. 

Q3 “What does the museum represent to you?”

What it means to mean, I understand the significance of her collection, and I want to change the public outlook on erotic art. I don’t think there’s a definitive line between erotism and porn. A good example is in Europe, a woman being topless is not a big thing, but also you can see a commercial with topless people and here in the U.S. is different. I don’t understand why, but I know it has a lot to do with the church. 

Q4 “As a manager, what is your goal for the WEAM?”

There is no authority to differentiate art and porn. Our goal is to be the authority; the FCC can come to us for guidelines on porn and erotic art. We also want to educate the public so they can know that this museum is all about art and not porn. 

SUMMARY

When walking into the World Erotic Art Museum, one can find itself in either an awkward position or a shocking moment. Awkward since some believe that erotic art is pornography, and the arts at the WEAM are very explicit so they could easily be categorized as porn. I enjoyed walking through the museum, seeing art from different times and countries. I could have enjoyed it more if there was more information on the artist or the art itself. It was hard to find someone to help with questions; the staffs are not accessible. I like their events because they are very informational, and they are helping us change our perception of erotic art, sex, and porn. 

Citations

https://www.weammuseum.com/

Leave a Reply