From Roula Seikaly’s interview with Lissa Rivera and Marina Garcia Vasquez, curators of the Museum of Sex exhibition “NSFW: Female Gaze,” for the Humble Arts Foundation blog:
RS: As curators, are there historic or contemporary exhibitions that influenced your thinking as NSFW was coming together?
LR: From a potential censorship point of view, we were looking to do something that couldn’t be done in another institution. We weren’t interested in exhibiting pieces that reinforce male perspectives on sexuality. We were interested in showcasing the work of artists who represent different experiential and educational backgrounds and methodologies. That approach seemed more democratic. Putting the exhibition on at the Museum of Sex meant that we didn’t have to worry about “appropriate” nudity.
We, or I at least, weren’t thinking about other exhibitions specifically. We set our focus on the portrayal of desire and sexuality, from a perspective often not seen in exhibitions that prioritize the female gaze. We’re celebrating artists who are grappling with their own sexual identity and desires that in other exhibition contexts may not be addressed.
MGV: When we discussed the artist list, we went through many iterations before settling on who to include. Much of that centered around how desire was portrayed, and who was expressing it, and how it came through in the work. Also, we looked at what could be learned, or what could potentially change a person’s perspective after experiencing these objects for the first time. We wanted to learn something new. We wanted the art to represent diversity in media and methodology.