New Museum Puts Sex in the Spotlight
Published: February 13, 2013 (Issue # 1746)
Vintage sex toys and 18th-century pleasure chairs are on show in the History Room.
A new Erotic Museum is opening in St. Petersburg just in time for Valentine’s Day.
The Museros museum of erotic art will open its doors on Feb. 14, making it the city’s first museum entirely dedicated to the history, art and aesthetics of sex.
“The idea is to show the culture and art of eroticism, the true aestheticism of this important part of our lives,” said Karina Gorbatenko, the museum’s press secretary. “This is both an artistic and educational museum that will shed light on the rather closeted erotic culture.”
“Not knowing is bad, not wanting to know is worse,” proclaim the museum’s creators. “The theme of sex is still provocative and is not freely spoken of. That is why most museums and galleries can’t display erotic art objects; they would create too much controversy.”
Erotic art has never been so accessible for people living in the post-Soviet territories, and the founders of Museros want to create a place that completely blows the lid off the topic of sex. All of the museum’s exhibits will illustrate the unspoken culture that exists around human sexuality, its organizers say.
The museum occupies more than 900 square meters in five sultry and opulent rooms. The History Room reveals the “untold part of world history,” including the sex-lives of imperial Russian rulers and Soviet leaders. On show are discreet machines and imaginative sex toys that are in themselves works of art. One of the featured objects is an armchair dating back to the reign of Catherine the Great. Outwardly, the chair looks like any other from the era, but it conceals an inner mechanism that could be started by a single foot manipulation in order to give pleasure to the lady occupying the chair.
The Erotic Culture Room showcases customs and traditions from all over the world. Artifacts and objects of art from ancient times to the modern day represent the culture of various nationalities, tribes and communities. In focus here are unusual ways of attracting sexual partners, such as by stealing their work tools, different views on sexuality, and less common ways of giving pleasure. The exhibition gives lie to the stereotypes that making love is a similar process all over the planet, and that it has changed little since ancient times.
The founders of the museum have been building up their collection of art objects for 30 years, buying them at auctions, galleries and from private collections. They have visited erotic exhibitions around the world, and say they have tried to take the best ideas from the most famous erotic museums in Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin.
The collection features art objects from the locations and cultures ranging from the Roman Empire, Babylon and ancient Carthage to France, Japan and Oceania. Visitors can marvel at phallic amulets dating back to the first to fifth centuries AD, ancient Roman vases, a sex shop catalogue dating back to 1910, Russian paintings from the 18th and 19th centuries, Japanese erotic engravings of the 18th to 19th centuries, and other sex-themed artifacts from five continents.
The museum is also home to a 3D showroom featuring interactive exhibits and a library. Early erotic movies are screened, alongside 3D adult films.
The Modern Room is devoted to contemporary erotic industries, inventions and the fashion for sex toys, and how they form and influence erotic art today. It contains the biggest European collection of sex machines and BDSM constructions, according to the museum.
The museum’s creators promise regular master classes and events, as well as new exhibitions and constant additions to the permanent collections.
Museros opens on Feb. 14 at 43/45 Ligovsky Prospekt. Tel. 905 0394. Open daily, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. www.museros.ru