Erotic Art vs Pornography

Erotic Art vs Pornography

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Are erotic art and pornography the same? Is a controversial topic. Sometimes the concept of pornography is well accepted and also can be even conceived as an artistic expression of erotic pleasure. On the other hand, it can be characterized as sinful and obscene. But the topic of whether erotic art can being categorized as pornography gets into this worldwide debate. What are the factors that can affect their distinction? The Museum of Sex located at New York has caused polemic among the people who know about it. Can the exhibition pieces be pornography and as a result do they have a negative connotation? Can the Venus in a Mirror painting have a negative pornographic meaning? Can it be conceived as positive art of cultural nourishment? Similarities and distinctions between art and pornography are needed in order to eradicate their negative effects and to assimilate their positive benefits.
Armstrong, Elizabeth. “Identity And Competence: The Use Of Culture In The Interpretation Of Sexual Images.” Sociological Perspectives 49.3 (2003): 411-432. Academic Search Premier. Web. 14 Nov. 2013.
The main thesis of this empirical and theoretical essay is about how the categorization of something between the concepts of art and pornography depends of morals and aesthetic criteria. The essay was made base on a study applied to three hundred college students. An image of a couple masturbating was presented and different concepts a human classifications were created based on student responses. The relation of art being pornography or vice versa was testes among the student sample. Their answers and interpretations gave the distinction of something being porn, art or both in one. Those concepts that have been very debatable about their difference and similarities now are questioned in a different way. The idea of individuals giving their own point of view about a masturbating image, allowed to come with a human classification of: No artistic Conservatives, No artistic Liberals, Artistic Liberals, and Artistic Conservatives. Basically, the answer of something being porn or art comes from the background and personality of the individual experiencing a certain situation where sexual content is presented.
Blair, Leonard. “Ex Porn Star Vanessa Belmond Confesses Horrors of Seductive Porn Industry; Brings Porn-Loving Men Close to Tears With Story” CP Entertainment. The Christian Post, 23 October 2013. Web. 15 November 2013.
The main argument behind this article is to show the horrible experiences and consequences gained by a female ex porn star.

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Jones, Jonathan. “When Does Art Become Pornography?” The Guardian 21 March 2006: n. pag. Web. 15 November 2013.
The main thesis of the article is related to something being categorized as art or pornography depending of its location. Jones takes basic and strong examples from Spencer Tunick and his naked humans pictures, an urinal being conceived as a piece of art due it is in a museum and the painting Venus in a Mirror by Velazquez. He argues that whatever piece of matter can be taken as art it someone attributes it as art, same with pornography. The fact that some objects are located in a museum gives them the direct category of artistic pieces. Then art becomes pornography by the context, place and meaning that an individual gives to it. Like a urinal being called art due to it is in a museum or the urinal being consider a simple object due to it is located at a normal bathroom. It a highly recognized authority attributes a classification, this can be taken by granted, others may differ but at the end everything depends of the context and authority.
Levinson, Jerrold. “Erotic Art and Pornographic Pictures”. Philosophy and Literature 29.1 (2005): 228-240. Academic Search Premier. Web. 14 Nov.2013.
The thesis of this article is related to erotic art and pornography and the differentiations between both concepts. It emphasize that the distinctions are based on the use of those and the artistic interest applied to them. On the other hand, it argues that both concept do match about the fact that one of their aims is to created stimulation and arousal. But there is a paradox established among the terms of erotic art and pornography. Some artistic pieces can be categorized as pornographic art not implying it is pornography. They may have a pornographic element or interpretation but it doesn’t imply that is pornography. The essay makes lots of references to the ideas made by philosophy professor Mathew Kieran. Those are referred to the belief that pornography is completely not art. It is just lots of explicit sexual content with no sense of culture, just sexual arousal. Hence, the terms erotic art and pornography are two different incompatible worlds.
Maes, Hans. “Art Or Porn: Clear Division or False Dilemma? Philosophy and Literature 35.1 (2011): 51-64. Academic Search Premier. Web. 15 Nov. 2013
There is a medium point between art and pornography, they are not completely exclusive from each other. That is the main thesis of Maes’s article. There is a transparent and opaque side in a certain object, this means that something can have a pornographic and artistic touch at the same time. Hence, the essay challenges and denies Uidhir’s article thesis about art and pornography being mutually exclusive. The medium point between those two concepts are films, paintings, movies, etc. Maes, supports his statements by explaining how artistic and skillful filmmakers are able to get the audience to be aware about the story of the film and not about the meaning behind while watching the film for the first time. By giving those examples he argues that the film was artistic and at the same pornography, in case it had sexual arousing content. Therefore it contradicts Uidhirs thesis about exclusivity. Art and pornography can reach a middle agreement, where at the end the artistic product is not completely pornographic. He compares the paradox about something being pornography and art-pornographic with using different terms and getting the same middle result at the end.


Styles, Ruth. “Pornography Or Art? Explicit Japanese Shunga Exhibition Hits The British Museum.” Mail Online 1 October 2013: n.pag. Web. 15 November 2013.
The main argument of this article is to show some of the controversy caused by the Japanese sexual paintings at the British Museum. There are hundred sixty paintings reflecting explicit sexual positions and actions among homosexual, heterosexual, old and young couples. The exhibition has caused lots of controversy among the visitors due to showing explicit sexual images. At the article, it is argued that the antique pieces of art display a sexual loving encounter among the couples, where male and female reflect an equal level of enjoyment and affection. Those paintings where started by the T'ang Dynasty. Zhou Fang an erotic painter, was one of the creators of those artistic paintings. Even the government in Japan banned the creation, reproduction and exhibition of the paintings in the seventeenth century. They were considered to be too explicit. Nevertheless, they have been highly accepted by some and their uniqueness and background stories are well considered and admired by the public.

Uidhir, Christy Mag. “Why Pornography Can't Be Art” Philosophy & Literature 33.1. (2009): 193-203.Academic Search Premier. Web. 12 Nov.2013.
The thesis of this essay is about pornography being the same as art due to they both have different purposes, which categorize them as manner specific and manner unspecific. Art is labeled as manner unspecific due to it has the purpose of sexual arousal. On the other hand art has a specific purpose. It may depend of the type of art presented, and therefore it is categorized as manner specific. Since both art and pornography have two different classifications, they can never be the same. Uidhirs claims that pornography and art can also be compared with the same purposes as art and propaganda. The objectives of pornography tend to be, most of the times, commercial and business focused. To sell and to promotion it. However, art has a different focus. It concludes with the idea that pornography requires lots explicit sexual content and that art may have some implicit sexual elements.
Vasilaki, Mimi. “Why Some Pornography May Be Art” Philosophy & Literature 34.1. (2010): 228-233. Academic Search Premier. Web. 12 Nov. 2013.
The thesis of this essay is based on the study of Uidhir’s essay about pornography not being art. Where its main argument is about Uidhir thesis not being right and presenting a clear contradiction between the objectives of art and pornography. According to Vasilaki, art have a manner specific purpose. This contradicts Uidhir’s ideals since Uidhir, emphasizes that pornography is a manner unspecific purpose and art is the only manner specific purpose. Then the present essay about some pornography being art gives the argument that everything has a purpose, even pornography. Art has the specific purpose which goes according to its goals. The sexual arousal is the specific purpose of pornography hence, both have an objective. Therefore pornography and art have a specific manner purpose. Then, Vasilaski claims both have same manners. Hence, based on Uidhir’s contradiction according to this essay, some art can be categorized as pornography if they have the purpose of explicit sexual stimulation. It concludes with the Greek origin of the term pornography, emphasizing it was the writing of whores therefore it is the art of whores.



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