From the titillating to the scholarly to the absurd, NYC’s Museum of Sex offers rotating exhibitions touching on history, science, art, and culture. It’s a legit museum, though not pristine like MoMA or architecturally vital like The Guggenheim. It’s a little dingy in fact, but at least the floors aren’t sticky.
Since 2002, MoSex has attracted natives and out-of-towners alike. But unlike Giuliani’s smut-free Times Square, the museum lacks a touristy feel. It’s kind of a place where you can see some hot stuff, learn something, and chill. After your tour, get buzzed with sex-themed cocktails and fill ‘er up with snacks at Play, MoSex’s swanky bar and restaurant. The triple appeal of food, booze and sex is no new revelation. And who doesn’t like sex sandwiches?
On my recent visit, the exhibitions of note were the interactive “Funland: Pleasures and Perils of the Erotic Fairground”; “The Eve of Porn”, a deeper look, if you will, at “Deep Throat”; and “Fuck Bike #001,” a colossal, functional sculpture — functional in so far as there are pedals, handlebars, wheels and a huge dildo on a metal prosthetic attached to the bike, but not where you’d expect. The artists installed a black and white film of a woman demonstrating how to fuck the Fuck Bike. Must see to believe.
At first, the Lovelace exhibit felt too predictable for a sex museum. But as Marc Snyder, Director of Exhibitions, says, the aim is to foster “an ongoing dialogue.” He explained, “For some patrons, the highlight… is seeing the infamous scene between Harry Reems and Linda Lovelace or the actual film reel and canister… Many patrons, even those who are familiar with the 1972 film, express surprise… that Lovelace, several years after becoming the first mainstream porn star, publicly denounced [porn]… For those deeply versed in Lovelace’s story, the rare photos from her early career… are often cited as their favorite part.”
Indeed, being one of the “well-versed,” I found those largely unseen photographs truly eye-opening. But I did take a moment to stand in the center of the room and watch a deep-throating snippet projected onto the wall on a loop, because… learning!
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see “Funland” so I didn’t have the pleasure of what I imagined would be the less educational exercise of bouncing around barefoot on giant inflated testicles. Someday.
Images by Isabel Hughes