At what point does a nude painting, drawing, print etc, become a sexual or voyeuristic object? Is art above pornography? Is eroticism pornography?
Too many questions – I think the nude (in art) is simply a type of voyeurism
The principal characteristic of voyeurism is that the voyeur does not normally relate directly with the subject of his/her interest, who is often unaware of being observed. Voyeurism may involve the making of a secret photograph or video of the subject during an intimate activity. When the interest in a particular subject is obsessive, the behavior may be described as stalking.
I have always loved the drawings of Degas. The way he portrayed women in ‘the moment’ is sensual and truthful, a skill to be admired. His intimate sketches are defiantly voyeuristic.
In the late 1880s, Degas developed a passion for photography and this new skill influenced the composition of his paintings. He photographed many of his friends, dancers and nudes, and used them as source material for his drawings and paintings.
At what point does Art become pornography?
Does it make it OK for an artist to say he is being erotic in his work, when a non-artist would be accused of being a pornographer or are they the same thing packaged differently?
The use of increasingly explicit sexual imagery in print, on TV, on the Internet, as advertising etc. is common place. This is not a new phenomenon, the female form has been used to sell products and services ever since man invented ‘the market place’. Sexuality is considered one of the most powerful tools of marketing and advertising.
There is a thin (if not a completely invisible) dividing line between art and porn. Intent and message maybe the grey area between them – erotic art is marketed as, and is intended to be seen as pieces of art, flirting with formal elements of art processes, for example referring to other historical artworks. Pornography also uses these tools but its primary intent is to sexually arouse. The distinction between art and porn is highly subjective and I would argue that there is really no difference.
Post-advertising sales response studies have shown that using the naked female form as a tool for attracting immediate interest is effective – but are we becoming immune to sexy ads and not bothering to read the sales pitch?