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What's the difference between art and porn?

(21 Posts)
CheeseBubbles Fri 23-Jun-17 11:54:32

Inspired by a thread in chat*

* Disclaimer: though not a thread about a thread.

CheeseBubbles Fri 23-Jun-17 11:57:46

In the other thread the op got a ticking off from Pinterest for posting Schiele nudes. Having minimal knowledge of art I googled and found what I'd consider porn. Obviously not photography of women but certainly some woman would have had to pose for them and the paintings are from a very interesting angle.

DJBaggySmalls Fri 23-Jun-17 12:00:13

I dont think there is a clear distinction. It could be described as a series of borderlines. Or that each piece is on a spectrum between worthyness and titillating.

DJBaggySmalls Fri 23-Jun-17 12:03:10

Schiele was Klimts protoge, but whereas Klimt loved women, Schieles taste was for young girls and he treated them with contempt. As with Dali (a Fascist), knowing about his personal life has spoiled my ability to appreciate his work.

AnotherOneBitesTheMustard Fri 23-Jun-17 12:05:09

What was wrong with Dali?

AnotherOneBitesTheMustard Fri 23-Jun-17 12:05:28

Oh you said! blush

seasonschooner Fri 23-Jun-17 12:09:50

I agree DJ when you find out about an artist and how they treated those around them it can ruin the art. Just look at Woody Allen and Roman Polanski.

When I was about 20yrs old I had a BF who loved Schiele and I did also like his work. It all seemed so liberating so I'm not sure...

QueenOfTheSardines Fri 23-Jun-17 12:20:24

Agree that there are a series of boundaries.

Generally though I'd say that anything that has the primary intention of causing sexual arousal on the part of the viewer / reader / whatever is porn.

So family pictures of children on the beach = not porn even though some may find them arousing.

Page 3 = porn even though women with their tops off is not intrinsically pornographic, because the entire point of them is for men to get sexy feels by looking at the attractive young woman in a state of undress

It's all about the primary intent IMO.

Old porn I suppose may be downgraded as boundaries change. A woman showing a bit of ankle was porn, is it still? Probably. Not sure how that works.

CheeseBubbles Fri 23-Jun-17 12:24:03

This was definitely more than a cheeky bit of ankle! I'd say the paintings I was looking at were definitely for someone's arousal... if only just the artist's at the time of painting. Dj's comment about liking your girls and testing them with contempt makes sense. Nasty degrading positioniNg.

CheeseBubbles Fri 23-Jun-17 12:24:29

Young girls and treating them with contempt

EBearhug Fri 23-Jun-17 13:39:45

There's often not. In the last couple of decades, there have been exhibitions on the Victorian Nude st Tate Britain, the Art of Seduction at the Barbican, there was one at the British Museum on something Japanese that was erotica paintings and dildos (can't remember the title), and any exhibition with Jeff Koons' work in. Also another Tate one on British cartoons which had a separate section you were only mean to go in if you were over 18.

Most of those exhibitions included at least an element of porn, and had quite deliberately crossed the art/erotica/porn line as a way of looking at that very question asked in the thread title.

The catalogue for the Victorian Nude had a close-up of an Alma-Tadema Greek woman holding an urn - there was a strip of most paper cover her nipples, because you can't show female nipples like that in public, however well-painted in oil on canvas...

Prior to photography, paintings and prints and so on were the only images available to people, so it did fulfill the role of porn, if you define it as a picture of a nude or semi-naked body with the purpose of arousing the viewer. And as soon as photography was available, it was used extensively for porn, not just family portraits and landscapes.

I would always say that Courbet''s l'Origine du Monde is art but a photo of exactly the same subject in a top-shelf magazine would be porn, and other than the medium, it's the same thing.

Basically, it's not a line which can be crossed; it's a Venn diagram with a massive intersection, and just where the boundaries for each set lies will be defined differently by different people.

I am also mildly disturbed about how extensive my knowledge of this subject is...

LassWiTheDelicateAir Fri 23-Jun-17 13:50:31

The one I always think of when this question is asked is Edward Poynter's The Cave of the Storm Nymphs

wiltingfast Fri 23-Jun-17 13:54:37

Intention of creator, I would say.

Also, it can be both.

Had a quick google, certainly they are pornographic but I wouldn't personally call them porn. To me they are an exploration of someone's sexuality. The bodies are there all their lumpy & sometimes grotesque human-ness. They are distorted which creates reactions other than arousal; pity, fear, curiosity, disgust, fascination etc. I'm sure plenty of people would find them revolting and not at all sexually arousing. If it's porn, it's rigorously honest porn!

MrsToddsShortcut Fri 23-Jun-17 14:05:27

I agree intent and also reputation.

I am consistently astonished at people's ability to 'overlook' the behaviour and related art of Eric Gill (although he was amazingly talented and some of his sculpture is beautiful) because it's 'art' even though it is artwork based on his rape of his daughters.

Dervel Fri 23-Jun-17 14:52:07

The difference between art and porn boils down to the answer to the question "Is the person depicted a subject or an object?" Of course the answer to that question is subjective it's still worth answering.

Datun Fri 23-Jun-17 15:13:43

I absolutely think that art gets a pass when it's pornographic. Schiele's art may not look alluring but it's highly rated. He had a definite interest in underage girls. Which taints the whole thing.

Japanese Shunga gives me the same feeling. It's so forensic, it feels alienating.

IndominusRex Fri 23-Jun-17 16:02:03

Gill is an interesting example because he was a sexual abuser (of his dog as well as his daughters) and I think we need to view his work through that lens but I wouldn't say its pornographic. My interpretation of Schiele's work is that it's more about provocation (and possibly offence) than titilation and has a number of layers to it. The content is unashamedly explicit but I wouldnt call it porn. Art to me is an external manifestation of someone's internal. Porn is about appealing to otehr people rather than the self.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Fri 23-Jun-17 18:03:39

This critic is making a not particularly persuasive case for Schiele as a feminist. He must be unaware of Schiele's comment about wanting to marry well, but not to his teenage mistress.

Sex and stockings: Egon Schiele's nudes – in pictures

www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2014/oct/21/sex-and-stockings-egon-schieles-nudes-in-pictures?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Copy_to_clipboard

IndominusRex Fri 23-Jun-17 18:14:07

confused at idea of Schiele as a feminist. Maybe we should buy the critic a dictionary?

LassWiTheDelicateAir Fri 23-Jun-17 23:38:28

Gill is the one which bothers me most. One can boycott Polanski or Allen films or Schiele exhibitions but Gill's work is on the front of Broadcasting House.

No matter what you might think of the BBC it is a fundamental part of British culture and the British establishment and it seems wrong for his work to be there (They are not even that great)

www.bbc.co.uk/broadcastinghouse/visitorinformation/whattoseeoutside.html

VestalVirgin Sat 24-Jun-17 14:05:30

The difference between art and porn boils down to the answer to the question "Is the person depicted a subject or an object?"

That's a good definition.

I dislike it when erotic literature is classified a "porn" because there is sex in it and it is supposed to be sexy.

Porn, by definition, is objectification.

Women writing hot Kirk/Spock sex scenes in which both characters are subjects isn't porn. Even if it is not very artistic. wink

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