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Museum to display scholarly smut

Feb. 22, 2007 at 3:13 PM   |   Comments

LONDON, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- A respected British museum is explicitly excluding the under-18 crowd for its latest exhibit of sexually explicit material.

Barbican Arts Center in London is displaying scholarly smut through the ages -- statues, reliefs, paintings, even doodlings -- in its "Called Seduced: Art and Sex from Antiquity to Now," the Telegraph said Thursday.

The Barbican, which planned the exhibit to celebrate its 25th anniversary, admits the fare is provocative but denies it's being displayed for shock value.

The 250 objects ranging from statues, carvings and reliefs from Greece, Rome, China and Japan to contemporary and controversial material by Robert Mapplethorpe, and works from the American Jeff Koons's Made in Heaven series, showing his former wife, Cicciolina, an ex-porn star and Italian lawmaker, having sex.

Kate Bush, head of the center's art gallery, said the "scholarly and serious" show would demonstrate how other civilizations were more open-minded about sex while the British, particularly in the 19th and 20th centuries, were prudes.

"It's a no-holds-barred exhibition but it isn't a sex museum type of show," Bush said. "It is serious art history."

The exhibition will run from October through January.

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