The recently installed, aptly named exhibit “Falos y Vaginas” (Penises and Vaginas) at Medellin‘s University of Antioquia Museum (MUUA) takes a close, naked look at the history of portrayals of human sexuality.
The exhibit was inaugurated last week and, according to the museum’s communications director Juan Fernando Gutierrez, received over 3,000 people on the first night, to a display that will last until November.
Broken up into seven sections, with an academic discussion and cinema series to accompany it, the exhibit deals variously with the history of portrayals of sexuality, erotic art, modern human desire, fetishism, sexual orientation and animal reproductive organs.
Walking through the sometimes shocking, interactive, multi-media display, one sees not only a stunning array of human reproductive organs, but also gains an awareness of the various ways of seeing sex and sexuality, within the context of the natural and sometimes vulgar world of our sexual organs.
Gutierrez told Colombia Reports that the purpose of the exhibit is to “stimulate a public dialogue” surrounding the vast representations of sexuality over the course of time and in varying cultures, and to allow us to “get to know ourselves — to see the subject [of sex and sexuality] in the manner in which it forms part of our nature.”
The use of a variety of media, including photographs, text, giant phallic candles, Preshispanic Colombian penis-shaped funerary urns, and pornographic wallpaper, is intended to “expand perspectives and ways of looking” at the subject, and to demonstrate that there are many different manners of relating ourselves to our own and others’ sexuality.
Although Gutierrez admitted that the “Adult Content” room of the exhibit, which displays a variety of sex toys, erotic photographs, and pictographic representations of various sexually deviant practices, definitely attracts the most viewers, he said that what is important is that “they almost all leave with questions.” The room is intended to approach the deeper subjects of sexual identity, including sexual orientation, in our own era.
The communications director said that the giant display, which is one of a series of three installed each year by the MUUA, runs in line with the museum’s mission, which is “research and understanding.”
The display, open from 8AM-6PM on weekdays and 9AM-1PM on Saturdays, features a variety of well-known and emerging artists who were invited to participate, and the accompanying discussion series, titled “Cuerpo, deseo y erotisismo” (Body, desire and eroticism) is programmed for each month of the duration of the exhibit.