"We're not trying to titillate, but we show bits of 'Deep Throat? for instance, which started porn chic and is one of the best-selling films ever"Daniel Gluck,Executive director of the Museum of Sex
THE porn shops and peep shows of Times Square may be gone but they will not be forgotten, courtesy of The Museum of Sex, an adults-only institution dedicated to the chronicling of some of the most basic urges known to man and woman.
Four years in the conception, the high-brow museum among the low-rise office buildings on Fifth Avenue and 27th Street is now open to the public with its debut exhibition, "NYC Sex: How New York City Transformed Sex in America.?
Part historical, part educational, part entertaining and certainly part titillating, the museum offers a journey through the sexual landscape of the city starting from the mid-19th century via photographs, posters, art, objects, documents, film and cartoons ranging from the benign to X-rated graphic.
"It's like as if there were no Museum of Modern Art. I said, 'Why isn't there a museum of sex??It's as important as that,?Executive director Daniel Gluck said.
"The surprising thing is that this is the first serious museum of sex to open in the United States,?said June Reinisch, former director of The Kinsey Institute at Indiana University and a senior advisor to the museum.
"It says a lot about America. America is still conservative sexually.
"You see them in Hamburg, Copenhagen, Paris, Amsterdam, in Spain. Japan has one, even Shanghai has one.?
The exhibit builds from the exuberance of post-Civil War times to law enforcement attempts to clamp down on abortion and gay lifestyles around the turn of the century.
Graphic stag films, one predating 1920, show sex acts and full nudity on a wall across from a sophisticated display of so-called "Tijuana Bibles??sexually explicit comic books, some drawn by noted cartoonists for fun and profit depicting movie stars and public figures engaged in lewd acts.
Those displays reside in the Flesh and Smut sections. Other sections are named Bizarre, Gear, Changing Sex, Beefcake, Cheesecake, Butch/Femmes, Homoerotics and Marketing Kink.
"Some of the historical displays are very straight,?Gluck said about the tame nature some of the debut exhibits.
"The 1960s and 1970s were the golden era of porn,?he said of the sections still to come. "We're not trying to titillate, but we show bits of 'Deep Throat? for instance, which started porn chic and is one of the best-selling films ever.?
Gluck said the goal was to educate and entertain. "We're riding that line,?he said. "We have the kind of subject we can easily push on either side of that line.?
Gluck said there were interactive sections not yet on display, including what he considered a compelling look at a police raid on a gay bathhouse in 1930.
(Shanghai Star October 17, 2002)