In June 1988, Annie Sprinkle put out a call and some of the leading artists who use sex in their work came together in Veronica Vera's N.Y.C. apartment to sign a manifesto which talked about an art movement which "celebrates sex as the nourishing, life-giving force" which these artists use, in the self-empowering "attitude of sex-positivism" to "communicate our ideas and emotions ... to have fun, heal the world and endure." This was a declaration of war against the censoring forces of anti-art, anti-human, anti-sex, anti-fun, anti-love, and truly anti-life forces of darkness in power in the world today. We called ourselves Post Porn Modernists. This was very limiting because it linked us not only to dying deadening porn, but to the glum post modern art movement, setting ourselves up to be just a reaction, just the limb of a dead tree. We needed a name like Living Pleasure Artists or Eroartists! By using the word "porn", it wrongly suggested that eroart somehow came out of what is very sloppily called "porn". Historically, there has always been eroart and if truth be told, most artists have done at least some eroart. Eroart celebrates sex, love, the body, and the human passions. But porn was born in the Victorian Era with its repressive anti-sexual/anti-pleasure morality. What we eroartists were trying to do was to get back to the healing liberation of eroart.
What we are interested in is art that creates in people the desire to go out and play with other people, and to enjoy life. This is eroart. Historically, one of the tools of this art has been the sex act. But sex has only been a tool, not the goal. And it is just one of many tools.
Isadora Duncan is a person whom I would call an artist in the eroart tradition. She used nudity (especially at private parties where she could dance without feeling moral judgments) and movement to turn people on physically to their own bodies and to passion for life. This is the true goal of eroart. Most books on eroart have missed the true purpose of such art. There has always been sexual erotic art. This kind of art is universal and can be traced back to the caves and beyond.
We artists who signed the manifesto wanted to offer alternatives. We wanted to do art that would satisfy people's natural desire to see other people nude getting turned-on, to satisfy their child-like curiosity to see other people's bodies, to see what they are really like under those clothes. These are healthy human desires.
The time was, and is, right for an art form that addresses these healthy desires. The women's movement has changed people's standards with regard to sex and the quality of relationships. This is true of both men and women. They have scrapped, or are scrapping, the old sexist ways and attitudes. People want to see new ways of relating between humans both in and out of bed. Eroart in all media can show this way of relating.
Unfortunately, in recent years many eroartists have embraced the label of PORN which is like embracing the label BAD COMMERCIAL ART. It is unfortunate because labels affect both the art and the artists. I don't know about you, but when I hear the word "porn", my mental pictures are big-dicked jerks and big-titted bimbos fucking bored, unreal, dumb tubes going in and out of holes as many tubes going in and out of holes as possible as close-up as possible without any real human passion. This picture sets up undermining blocks for eroart. Eroart aims to liberate people. This picture makes the artist forget the idealism and importance of the eroart "oh it's just porn."
This effect of the label of PORN can be seen on many of the female sex artists who have come on the scene since we signed the manifesto. The sex world has become in-grown. There is even a level of not liking/enjoying sex in this circle. Sex has become again the means to power, fame, money ... and the means to avoid relationships, intimacy, needing other people. At a recent party of famous sex artists, one woman actually said, "I don't like sex, I like faking it!" Most of the people just nodded their agreement. Just shows the gender of the pornographer doesn't affect the porn!
We need to get back to the idealism of eroart, get back to changing/liberating society through eroart. Breaking taboos has always been a part of art, at least the area of art that seeks to change consciousness, change morality, change reality. This is one of the functions of art.