Definitely not “Seduced”. November 2007.

We went to see the Barbican exhibition “Seduced: Art and Sex from Antiquity to Now”.  Seduced is not an apt description: it left me completely cold. They must have worked really hard to make sex so boring.

It is hard to see how they did it; perhaps sticking pictures of sex in a gallery removes the attraction?  There was little here that was erotic: perhaps we have become so used to having sexual images available – on tv, in the movies, on the internet – that hanging them in a gallery removes the sex: all that was left was cold meat.  Perhaps it is because, for most people, sex is private: and sticking it on the walls of the gallery, a very public space, puts it in the wrong.

The show didn’t seem to have a purpose: it didn’t seem to know what it was trying to do.  There wasn’t sufficient interest in the mores of the times to put the older images into context; different cultures were displayed without a hook to drag one in.

Even artists whose work I like seemed to come off badly.  It was a big show, and it felt unfocused: it might have been more effective if it had been smaller, more concentrated, more thematic.

There was only one piece that seemed to move off the wall and into the real world: k r buxey’s videos.  The one I watched left everything to the imagination, pulling me into her world, powerfully.

But I expected more than just one piece in such a large show to interest me.


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