Previously at the ICA - Events

Image: Promotional material for COUM Transmissions’ exhibition Prostitution

Sex Sells: Erotic Experience and Controversy as Curatorial Method

21 Jan 2008

In Richard Hamilton's 1956 description of pop art he insisted that it needed to be sexy. This has been the mantra of the designer, the performer and the advertising executive ever since. It has also, in different ways, been a position adopted by the curator - after all, sex sells. Prostitution (ICA, 1976), a now infamous show, has endured in part because of its explicit content. Even in its revisited form at the Tate Triennial last year, the gallery had to physically segregate the work in case it caused offence. Yet the small display of 70s porn with artist Cosey Fanni Tutti's retrospective musings was one the most popular exhibits. Does sex still have the power to shock? Is controversy still one of the highest aims of the curator?

Speakers: artist John Russell; Tamar Garb, Durning Lawrence Professor in History of Art, University College London; Lynda Nead, Pevner Professor of History of Art, Birkbeck; Sarah Kent, art critic and broadcaster; Kate Bush, head of art galleries at the Barbican.

In association with the London Consortium and London Centre for Arts and Cultural Enterprise.

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