The Naked Truth: Nudes and Erotica in Art

February 10 – March 31, 2012

The Naked Truth: Nudes and Erotica in Art was a collective show exploring the representation of nudity, sex and eroticism in art. We selected works by artists from different countries, diverse periods and an array of media, to compare how the representation of these themes has varied through time and from artist to artist.

Traditionally one of the most popular themes in art history has been the female nude, represented in all the imaginable styles and by almost every artist at some stage in their career. In this exhibition we can see it in the works of Julio Girona, J. Roberto Diago, Roberto Fabelo and Mariano Rodriguez.

Within the same theme we should consider the work of Joaquin Blez, known for his delicate feminine nudes made in the 1920s and 1930s, rather scandalous in his days but today perceived as almost naïve. Other photographs, by Andrea Cote, are also showing feminine nudes, in this case portrayals of her naked body in a concealed manner. Luis Martinez-Pedro is another artist who visually camouflaged his central motif: the exquisite detail of his drawing represents the same theme but in a more erotic manner, his image entwined in floral details, almost covering up his unequivocal representation of a female nude.

Tracey Snelling, on the other hand, is taking advantage of people’s curious nature and their voyeuristic inclinations by inviting us to ‘spy’ at erotic videos through her motel windows. William Cannings continues this idea with legs coming out of the wall, implying the nakedness of their owners.

León Ferrari is participating with two pieces: an appropriation of a sensual double photographic image, and one of his mannequins; this last one, part of his 1994 mannequins’ series, evokes the intimacy of a love relationship by writing fragments of a poem over the ‘naked’ body of a woman.

Wifredo Lam is represented by one of his paintings of women from the 1940’s known as femmes; in this piece we can see his vision of femininity filtered through his perception of his distinctive multiple perspectives: the bare breasts are implying that the portrayed subject is a naked woman.

Another artist in the exhibition is Servando Cabrera Moreno, who was very well known for the erotic content of his paintings and drawings -in this instance we are showing two of his trademark embraced couples.

But perhaps one of the most important Cuban artists whose work consistently represented erotic themes was Carlos Enriquez. Here we are presenting one of his most important pieces, L’Ecuyer, a classic work in which the transparencies reveal a hidden eroticism. We are also showing for the first time an important group of very explicitly erotic drawings initially conceived to be published as illustrations for a book of poems by Pietro Aretino, project that never materialized. Now, many years later, the drawings will be exhibited together with the book, published by Pan American Art Projects.  Professor Juan Martinez wrote an introductory essay for the book and will speak at its presentation.