From subtle and unassuming to salacious and lewd, erotic art is often regarded as awkward or abrasive. But in his new exhibition entitled “F*ck Art,” Tony Wong addresses the uncomfortable art form in a new way: with humor.

Fluorescent rodents fornicate behind a peep hole in Peter Garnica's "In Flagrante Delicto" on display in the Z Building, on Tuesday April 15, 2014. (Charles Winners/Courier)
Fluorescent rodents fornicate behind a peep hole in Peter Garnica’s “In Flagrante Delicto” on display in the Z Building, on Tuesday April 15, 2014. (Charles Winners/Courier)

Inconspicuously displayed in a small alcove inside the Z Building, “F*ck Art” was created because of an under-appreciation for good erotic art and includes several works by students as well as instructors, according to Wong, who curated the exhibition as part of his Art 26 class.

Wong, who has three of his pieces on display in the show, has been tossing around the idea of presenting an exhibition with an erotic theme for a while, and though he incorporates erotica into a lot of his work, he’s not doing it just for shock value.

“I use it playfully, but sometimes it is a little bit of a slap in the face,” Wong said. “There’s not a lot of good erotic art out there and art that I like usually isn’t shown in a gallery, or it’s too far away and I wanted to do something more local with friends and up-and-coming artists. It’s just for fun and for people to enjoy.”

The exhibition touches upon the themes of how the art scene is controlled by the wealthy and things become a commodity instead of being art made simply to be appreciated.

“[It] stems from my frustration within the realm of art,” Wong said. “It has been commoditized in such an insane way that no one can truly afford it. This phenomenon of commoditization of art creates an insatiable thirst for hoarding art by the ultra-wealthy, and for the artist [it creates] an inflated ego, thinking he or she is a god. Art should be affordable and shared to all and therefore I say: ‘Fuck art!’”

“F*ck Art” also plays with the idea of censorship, hence the asterisk in the title, according to Wong.

“Even though there’s not necessarily a punch line in his work, there’s this exposure that’s sometimes absurd,” said Stan Baden, an assistant professor in the arts department. “The way he uses sex and language is like a sophisticated ‘Beavis and Butt-head.’ There’s always that raunchy giggle after something.”

Inspired by a belt buckle worn by the chairman of the arts department at the graduate school he attended, Baden’s drawing called “Fucking Art” displays a disorderly pile of shoes and clothing with a belt whose buckle reads “ART” looped through a pair of jeans.

“In my artwork I always try to have some kind of raw humor that’s really subtle so you can look at it and not really get it. It lessens the chance that someone might get offended,” Baden said.

Though he still incorporates humor into his two photographs displayed in the exhibition, Rick Osaka, an art instructor who has known Wong for years, took a different approach to overcoming the dangerous subject.

Fascinated by culture and identity, Osaka used a Chihuahua doll and a Japanese kokeshi doll posed in a whimsical sexual position.

“I had to find a way to make myself comfortable, but also address what the show is about. I tried to do it in a palatable way using dolls or objects in my studio and personifying them,” Osaka said. “I don’t personally do erotic art, but I definitely do neurotic art.”

Almost hidden in a corner of the exhibition is one of Yolanda McKay’s tiny inedible coffee cakes that comes from her series “Poodle Boys and Coffee Cakes.”

The cake was cast using recycled coffee grounds and sodium silicate as a binder before she put a decorative pattern on the outside of it. On top of the cake is a nude male with fleur de lis patterns embedded on his back and what looks like an acupuncture chart pointing to his different personality traits.

“I like using coffee because it speaks about obsessive nature… It’s about desire, consumption, submission, role-playing and humanity,” McKay said.

McKay teaches the Art 26 class that Wong created the exhibition for and gives her students a lot of freedom to do something that represents their individuality and creative approach.

“Tony has an interesting point of view and aesthetic,” Osaka said. “He’s delving into an area that’s a little bit risqué. It’s definitely personal and definitely about sexual morays, and that in itself can be a little uncomfortable, especially for young people. But Tony bravely goes on.”

“F*ck Art” opened on April 11 and will be on display through April 25.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.