Porn As Art… Or Is It Art As Porn?

Death by Party | It’s all in the presentation

I wanted to do another review of Tumblr photo collection and I stumbled onto conceptual gold. Unlike most Tumlr photo sets, Rican’s Erotic B&W has a premise, it’s an operating experiment in perception and in my opinion it wins and wins.

There has always been a line people have attempted to draw with erotica. Is it art, or is it smut? As the tools to create become more and more readily available, fine artists scurry to try and survive as masters of a socialized field. The existence of Rican’s Erotic B&W is just another nail in the coffin of art as a profession.

The experiment is simple. Rican sifts through the millions of common pornographic images that anyone can find by Googling ANYTHING. Then he picks and chooses from this endless pool of mundane porn and edits them. The goal is to take any throw-away jerk-off photo and transform it through cropping, desaturation, shadow & lighting effects and brightness & contrast settings and re-present them in the context of “art.”

The results are images that The Gap really wish they could make. Old dark room artists are screaming “don’t you know the skill and time it takes  to create a good photo the old way?” My answer is “yes, and I know what it used to take to boil water once upon a time too.”

But beyond the horror of the process, it’s the context of the images. The decades long debate over Mapplethorpe is kinda rendered idiotic.
“But is this art, porn?”
“Umm, yeah, really it literally is…”

Be sure to check out the site

-R.E. Brown

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One Response to “Porn As Art… Or Is It Art As Porn?”

  1. paint says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about riccan’s erotic b&w. Regards

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