The Incomplete Araki: Sex, Life, and Death in the Works of Nobuyoshi Araki
“It might seem a bit of a comedown for a world-famous photographer to have an exhibition at a museum that caters mostly to the prurient end of the tourist trade, especially after having had major shows at the Musée Guimet in Paris and the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum,” writes Ian Buruma. “But Araki is the least snobbish of artists. The distinctions between high and low culture, or art and commerce, do not much interest him. In Japan, he has published pictures in some quite raunchy magazines.
“Sex is, of course, an endlessly fascinating subject. Araki’s obsessive quest for the mysteries of erotic desire, not only expressed in his photographs of nudes, but also in lubricious close-ups of flowers and fruits, could be seen as a lust for life and defiance of death. Some of these pictures are beautifully composed and printed, and some are rough and scattershot. One wall is covered in Polaroid photos, rather like Andy Warhol’s pictures of his friends and models, except that Araki’s show a compulsive interest in female anatomy…. But to criticize Araki’s photos—naked women pissing into umbrellas at a live sex show, women with flowers stuck into their vaginas, women in schoolgirl uniforms suspended in bondage, and so on—for being pornographic, vulgar, or obscene, is rather to miss the point.”
For more information visit museumofsex.com.
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