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Sex MuseumsThe Politics and Performance of Display$
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Jennifer Tyburczy

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226315102

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226315386.001.0001

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Hard-Core Collecting and Erotic Exhibitionism

Hard-Core Collecting and Erotic Exhibitionism

(p.39) One Hard-Core Collecting and Erotic Exhibitionism
Sex Museums

Jennifer Tyburczy

University of Chicago Press

This chapter tracks the material conditions of what the author calls “display choreography” through two museum events: the first, the history of the collection and display of Gustave Courbet’s 1866 painting L’Origine du Monde (The Origin of the World) and its role in establishing Lacanian theories of the (white, heterosexual) gaze; the second, the history of the reception of Andrea Fraser’s 2003 film Untitled, a work that implicitly critiques the representational economies circulated through Courbet’s example. The story of the performances that occurred around these sex objects offers a unique chain of events where one can examine the profound impact of display on art historical meaning, the history of sexuality, and the cultivation of sexual consumptive practices that converge and diverge at the sites where the objects became visually accessible. Specifically, the chapter analyzes the transnational provenance of L’Origine du Monde and the film Untitled in order to examine the phenomenon of patriarchal perspectivalism, a way of seeing intricately entangled with capitalism, patriarchal heterosexuality, and collecting and displaying art.

Keywords:   display, choreography, Gustave Courbet, L’Origine du Monde, Andrea Fraser, collection, capitalism, patriarchal, perspectivalism, heterosexuality

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