The Museum of Sex recently celebrated the opening of “Known/Unknown: Private Obsession and Hidden Desire in Outsider Art.”
The opening was followed by a disco themed private party in the “Night Fever” room featuring photographs from the Bill Bernstein Collection. Curated by Frank Maresca, the show features self taught and folk artists such as Eugene von Bruenchenhein, Gil Batle, Henry Darger, Miroslav Tichy, Morton Bartlett, Steve Ashby, and Thornton Dial. Examples of works range from erotic pin up style black and white photographs, to homemade cameras made out of shoeboxes and toilet paper rolls.
The collection is quite eccentric as one would expect; however, just like the museum itself, gives insight to a subject that is only beginning to become less of a taboo in today’s society. Museum director of Exhibitions Mark Snyder says “what is compelling about the pieces… is that at first sight the work appears to be relatively straightforward; however, on a closer look, the images are often complicated by an artist’s traumatic pr psychologically-driven event that shifts them away from reality, and makes the viewer’s encounter with the pieces all the more intimate and challenging”.