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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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Nudes and Nazis; or, Surveying Sex through Violence in Museums

Nudes and Nazis; or, Surveying Sex through Violence in Museums

(p.65) Two Nudes and Nazis; or, Surveying Sex through Violence in Museums
Sex Museums

Jennifer Tyburczy

University of Chicago Press

Chapter two constitutes a form of discursive display to explore, in experimental fashion, nineteenth- and twentieth-century museums as sites for visualizing perversity through the exhibitionary logic of cultural otherness. To do so, the chapter maps an alternative history to textually show and examine specific acts of violence committed against sex objects or subjects exhibited as sex objects that includes: the display of Sarah Baartman, dead and alive, as an embodied evolutionary lesson; suffragette Mary Richardson’s attack on Diego Velázquez’s Rotheby Venus at the London National Gallery in 1914 as a dramatic performance of violating gendered systems of sexual consumption; the burning of Henri Matisse’s Blue Nude for allegedly violating the compositional gender and race norms of the ideal nude; and the Nazi’s Degenerate Art show in Munich in 1937 as a site for developing a visual literacy of sexual degeneracy. The chapter ends with a more recent performance of violence committed against Andres Serrano’s photographic series A History of Sex in an art gallery in Lund, Sweden to show how the history of violence committed against sex objects continues into the twenty-first century.

Keywords:   performance, violence, nudes, Nazi, Hottentot Venus, Degenerate Art Show, vandalism, Mary Richardson, Blue Nude, Andres Serrano

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