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The Allure of NSFW: An Exclusive Preview of the Museum of Sex's Newest Show

By Liz Suman

The country’s most well-known museum dedicated to the world’s favorite pastime is kicking off the summer with a countercultural statement about the birds and the bees. On June 21, the Museum of Sex unveils NSFW: Female Gaze, a sweeping, all-female group show featuring original works from 25-plus emerging artists who were tasked with exploring definitions of sex, desire and identity that challenge conventional societal norms. The result is a titillating collection of original painting, illustration, photography, textile and digital works, from surreal pastel and graphite nudes and bejeweled BDSM collage art to uncomfortably saccharine ceramic dildos and thoughtful boudoir-themed interpretations of gender identity.

“Women use the internet as a tool for empowerment and have become more inquisitive and open about sexuality,” says artist and MoSex associate curator Lissa Rivera of the multidiscliplinary exhibit. “The drive to understand our bodies and desires is now seen as ubiquitous instead of fringe.”

Additional underlying goals, according to the Manhattan museum and cocurator Marina Garcia Vasquez of VICE Media’s Creators, were to provide artists with a forum to explore sexuality on their own terms, visualize sex in an unflinching way and “restructure stereotypes to explore a more complex relationship between gender, pleasure, fantasy and desire.”

NSFW: Female Gaze opens at the Museum of Sex in New York City on June 21.

(Photos of artwork are courtesy of the artist unless noted.)

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