11
May
10

Porn vs. Art (the rebuttal)

First, let me say that despite any disagreements we may have, I love Mike Radzin.  He has always been very supportive of me both personally and professionally.  He is an amazing “Uncle Mike” to my kids.  He spends more time  in the gallery than he probably every thought possible.  We often don’t see eye to eye on matters, such as chickens, public art, and now Playboy.

I don’t remember exactly how we got onto the subject of Playboy, not exactly the typical Mother’s Day dinner conversation at our house.  But at some point, the statement was made that “Playboy is not art”.  Yes, it was made by me.  And yes, I still believe that “Playboy is not art”.  I do not say this from any ‘higher than thou’, ‘art expert’ place.  I do not say this out of any disdain for porn (although I can’t say I am a huge fan).  I say this from a very simple point of view.  Playboy is a magazine.  It is a magazine published for the entertainment of men.  I do not doubt that some art has been seen within the covers of the magazine, but I do not believe that the magazine is or intends to be art.  I also do not think that my In Style magazine is art.  I also don’t think that Sports Illustrated is art.  I don’t even think that Art News is Art.  It is a publication.  One that celebrates art, one that reproduces images of art to create conversation of such pieces.

I also made the point at dinner and will make this point again.  Just because something is pretty does not make it art.  Especially with photography, I want the implication of something more.  If I see a photograph of a pretty flower, I want to be challenged to see more than just the pretty flower.  The flower is already pretty.  What has the artist done to make it more than that?  I think the same applies for Playboy.  It is a catalog of a very thin, beautiful, airbrushed, naked women.  When I look at Playboy (which is not often, I admit) that is what I see.  I can see how some, men especially, would think Playboy is pretty, but how does that qualify as art?  In my opinion it doesn’t.

I had not intended to throw down some kind of art gauntlet the other evening.  I do not want to be in the middle of an “Art” controversy.  I am entitled to have an opinion.  My opinion is that Playboy is not art.  One, because it has never intended to be art, and two, because although there may be pretty pictures, it lacks the implication of more that would bump it from just a pretty picture into being a work of art.  I have a feeling that Mike and I will probably just agree to disagree on this one, as we did the chickens.

Lastly, I do not in any way want to say that I dictate what is and is not art.  This is my opinion and my opinion only.  There are so many different styles, medium, genres, out there that we are not always going to agree on everything.  I am ok with that.  But I also don’t think that we should dumb down “art” to include anything we could possibly hang (or thumbtack) to a wall.

Jennifer Perlow

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2 Responses to “Porn vs. Art (the rebuttal)”


  1. 1 cherie
    May 12, 2010 at 5:16 am

    i want to hear the story behind the chickens.

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