Well, they're sweeping away the snow from the front door at Bert's Warehouse and mopping up the inside, so it's safe to say that Jerry Vile and his merry pranksters are getting ready to unveil Dirty Show XIV on Feb. 8 - and from all indications Detroit's favorite box of Valentines Day candy is going to be especially tasty this year. But then it always is tasty, ne c'est pas?
If you're new to all this libidinous aestheticism, the Dirty Show is an exhibit of erotic art that traces its roots back to Vile, Orbit Magazine and a now famous (or mythical?) cocktail napkin that envisioned a dozen or so Motor City artists and friends getting frank and colorful about the birds and the bees. The roster of painters expanded over the years, the venue changed now and then, but the event itself became both a tradition and an internationally recognized gala.
But if a brief summation of the whole shebang is still required ...
The Dirty Show is about sex and it's about more than sex. It's a dignified and curated exhibition ... and an incredible party. It's a dissertation about the human condition with people on leashes wearing an awful lot of latex. It's talented men and gifted women talking about the experience of being in the show and tackling those eternal questions about where the difference lies between what is erotic and what is perceived as being pornographic.
We have four people weighing in with their opinions below:
Roxi DLite is a major burlesque star who has frequently performed at DS; she'll be back this year - and this time she has art in the show as well: I am very excited about this year's Dirty Show and I am excited to have art work of mine included. I've always loved to draw and paint, but took a lot of time away from it for burlesque. My art work always has a strong feminine quality to it. I love to paint and draw sexually charged images, something that got me in trouble a lot in college. I hope people enjoy what I created. I think each artist has their own way of expressing eroticism through their artwork. Something I love about The Dirty Show is seeing everyone's interpretations on this topic or theme. It can be anything from abstract to realism and everything in between. I truly feel that art for the most part is very personal. At least I feel the best kind of art is. I believe that the finished result is a small look into the artist's soul and perhaps an artist's personal experience has influenced the end result as well.
The Sublime Subspace is a photographer: To have my work displayed at Dirty Show has been a great achievement for me. When I started going to the shows I wanted to be able to go in one day and say I finally made it. Having my work displayed with other local and international artists with so much talent, I was on "high" for the entire show. I have found that erotic art is in the eye and thoughts of the viewer. They may see something they have never thought of before and imagine themselves as being a part in it. In doing so it brings personal feelings and emotions out. For example, a photograph that lets your mind fill in the blanks or something more immediate that captures a moment in time like a mental snapshot. If it gets you excited then we've done our job.
Haley Scott (artist and CCS alumna): I feel honored to be a part of the Dirty Show. There are so many accomplished artists from all over the planet that grace the show with their works and it's very it's exciting to be included. However, it does make me blush a whole lot! I'm not an expert on erotica, but capturing sexual desire whether blatant or implied is necessary. It's easy to put a penis in a piece, but not always easy to make that penis tell a story.
VATO is a photographer and noted curator: The opportunity to display erotic art is far and few between, and generally left to a subculture of the hidden variety. The Dirty Show is Metro-Detroit's exposure of the genre to the mainstream, and as such, I'm very much blessed to be a part of the show. Art is perceived in many ways – by the critic, the audience and its creator. My work is not a simple capture of an image. Rather it is the pause in a moment of time. What follows are the visual representations of the intangibles of our lives we don’t know how to explain in words. My self-taught photography is an expression of emotions, feelings and thoughts, and its ultimate goal is that the viewer is able to replicate that expression, or formulate his or her own, based upon the image. I feel it necessary to advance towards the path that acutely highlights our individualism. The exploration of our deepest thoughts and most personal desires uncovers the basic foundation of our being. This discovery of the self allows the understanding of, not only who we are, but why we are. My work visually shows the power within us to express that discovery in its purest and raw form.