Erotic Art: I Know It When I See It Series 

Tuesdays, February 1, 8, 15, 22, 5:30 to 7:00 PM
Zoom address will be emailed upon registration
$100 General Admission | PAFA Members $80

Or register for the individual classes below: $25 General Admission| PAFA Members $20 

Inspired by PAFA’s retrospective exhibition of the work of pioneering feminist Joan Semmel (b. 1932), this series of four evening lectures will explore issues suggested by her preferred subject matter: the unclothed human body.  More specifically, in these richly illustrated talks art historian Nancy G. Heller will explore what is generally called “erotic” art.   

Since there is little consensus regarding how to define or interpret erotic art, this series will not attempt to offer answers.  Rather, it will pose and explore a great many questions, including:  Why is one painting, drawing, print, photograph, or sculpture of a person without clothing considered erotic, while another is not?  How, and why do these perceptions change from place to place, and time to time?   Does the medium matter?  How about the age and gender of the subject, or the gender/sexual orientation of the artist involved?  Can art be both humorous and erotic?  Must a figure be unclothed to seem erotic?  What is the difference between erotic art and pornography?  

 In addition, during one session Jodi Throckmorton, PAFA’s Curator of Contemporary Art and the creator of the Joan Semmel exhibit, will present some of her current research, and lead the discussion.

This series will emphasize visual art created between the late 19th century to the present, including many works made by women.  

About the Speaker: Nancy G. Heller is Professor Emerita at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.  Dr. Heller’s most recent books are Women Artists: An Illustrated History and Why a Painting is Like a Pizza: A Guide to Understanding and Enjoying Modern Art.


Visit community.pafa.org/join to become a member today! For more information contact our Membership Office at 215-972-2077.

  1. Step 1 Selection
  2. Step 2 Registration
Tuesday February 1
5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
Register for all four classes with this option
Category
Quantity
Price
$80.00
 
$100.00
 
Tuesday February 1
5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
Examples of works considered erotic and reactions to them, in various places, at different times. Artists to be discussed include Robert Mapplethorpe, Alice Neel, Niki de Saint Phalle, Frida Kahlo, and Mickalene Thomas.
Category
Quantity
Price
$25.00
 
$20.00
 
Tuesday February 8
5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
What, exactly, are we looking at and why does it matter? Also, how about the treatment, in visual art, of the female breast? Works by Gustave Courbet, Georgia O’Keeffe, Judy Chicago, and Marjorie Strider will be considered.
Category
Quantity
Price
$20.00
 
$25.00
 
Tuesday February 15
5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
Ingenious ways to emphasize, or obscure, the member in question. Artists whose works will be discussed include Ming-Yi Sung, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Sylvia Sleigh, and Joan Semmel.
Category
Quantity
Price
$25.00
 
$20.00
 
Tuesday February 22
5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
From beauty pageants to magazine advertisements, plus television shows and social media. New questions, and the potential influence of digital technology on the future of erotic art.
Category
Quantity
Price
$20.00
 
$25.00
 
Make an additional donation $  
Event registration summary
Erotic Art—I Know It When I See It:
PAFA Member
0
$80.00
General Admission
0
$100.00
Class 1: Why Is It So Difficult to Define “Erotic Art”?:
General Admission
0
$25.00
PAFA Member
0
$20.00
Class 2: Flowers, Abstractions, or Vulvas?:
PAFA Member
0
$20.00
General Admission
0
$25.00
Class 3: Codpieces and Fig Leaves:
General Admission
0
$25.00
PAFA Member
0
$20.00
Class 4: Erotic Art in Popular Culture::
PAFA Member
0
$20.00
General Admission
0
$25.00
Donation:
$0.00
Total:
$
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