Is it art, or pornography?
The line between art and pornography is a fine one. And to discover the answer we’re going to go to Wikipedia and define both the word “pornography,” and the word: art” According to this reference index,“Pornography or porn is the portrayal of explicit sexual subject matter for the purposes of sexual excitement and erotic satisfaction.” and “Art is the process or product of deliberately arranging elements in a way to affect the senses or emotions.“
We can conclude from these definitions that in answering the question as to the difference between art and pornography we are walking a delicate line on very thin ice. Sexual excitement and erotic satisfaction are a major part of the senses. Are we so restricted and constrained in our thinking we wouldn’t say the music of Rachmaninoff is sexual? Or, even, looking at a Kandinsky that it may satisfy an erotic impulse. Far out, huh?
But what about renting a horn-dog video of Dr. Long John strapping Laura Scutter on the kitchen counter? Is that art?
The question seems to me to hinge on two other qualities. First, art is unique. If you create a singular work, you may or may not be deemed an artistic by your contemporaries. If you create a thousand replicas of the same piece, then you will be a craftsman or a tradesman, but won’t be considered an artist. What do you think?
Uniqueness on the one hand defines art, and on the other hand the receptivity of viewer also defines it and so we come to the question of zen. “If a tree falls in the forest, and no one’s around, does it make a sound?” If you paint a picture, hide it in the closet for a few years then burn it, did you create art? You created something. But was it art?
Likewise, the question of pornography — namely “the portrayal of explicit sexual matter for the purposes of sexual excitement”— creates this question: If two people portray explicit sexual poses, gestures, movements, forms, pictures, or matter for each other to be aroused, is that pornography?
Of course not. It’s sex!
Who views the explicit sexual material is very important. And so is the timing. Two hundred years ago what was pornographic then is not now; and two hundred years from now that will change too.
So it would seem the only correct answer to the difference between art and pornography is that art, and pornography, like beauty is in the mind of the beholder, or perhaps in the mind of the people of that mileu.
What do you think?
If you dare!