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Erotic art exhibits open at Kinsey Institute



Human-animal hybrid figures and female body parts with floral details are only a few of the works now on display at the Kinsey Institute.

The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction opened two art exhibits Friday.

One of the galleries, called “Flora,” displays works from the Kinsey Institute’s permanent art collection that have a common theme of plants and nature.

“We have collected art since the 1940s when Kinsey first started doing his research,” Kinsey Institutes’ Curator of Art Catherine Johnson-Roehr said. “Shows like this are a great way to show the breadth of our permanent collection.”

The exhibit includes photography, sketches, sculpture and paintings, all of which have been inspired by nature.

The Kinsey Institute also tries to include objects from the large library of resources it houses on its fourth floor, Johnson-Roehr said.

One piece is a series of books by Tee Corinne and Betty Dodson that was part of a feminist movement in the 1970s. The books show a variety of female body parts with floral details. 

“Feminist artists were trying to help women become more comfortable with their bodies,” Johnson-Roehr said. “The idea that a woman would find herself beautiful was a strange idea then.”

Artist Ian Hornak is the focus of the Kinsey Institute’s second exhibit, called “Beauty and the Beast.”

The exhibit displays solely Hornak’s work from a specific period of time in his career.

“What I think is really interesting about this period of work where he was focusing on the human body is his interest in these human-animal hybrid figures,” Johnson-Roehr said. “I think it’s really intriguing how he was playing with really realistic figures and really imaginative ones.”

Hornak was a hyperrealist artist who lived and worked in New York with other artists such as Andy Warhol, Willian de Kooning and Robert Motherwell.

The Kinsey Institute’s collection focuses on the years 1967 through 1968 when Hornak was interested in depicting the human figure before he switched to landscapes, which is what he is more widely known for.

“It’s certainly pretty surreal but at the same time a lot of it is focused on artistic basics like the human body shape, and just combining that with animal imagery,” Kinsey Institute Intern Joseph Kenshur said.

The art featured in the exhibit is almost entirely from the Kinsey Institute’s permanent collection, but it is borrowing a few pieces from the Ian Hornak Foundation in Michigan.

“There’s so much to look at in the drawings, all this detail and these really interesting figures,” Johnson-Roehr said.

After the exhibits close, the pieces will return to storage and might not be seen again for years.

The exhibits will remain on display through April 4 at the Kinsey Institute, located in Morrison Hall.

“It’s a nice opportunity to get a sense of what this particular artist was doing,” Johnson-Roehr said. “He was doing really inventive artwork.”

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