Nudity is still to this day a taboo. It raises eyebrows, makes heads turn and for some people, creates discomfort. In a world where we think we saw it all, it is pretty amazing that one thing we should be most used to, our bodies, creates such controversy. Therefore, the fact that Detroit’s Dirty Show celebrates its sweet sixteen this year, gives the event even greater significance (read about the ongoing erotic art show in San Francisco). The now already traditional annual erotic show, first opened its doors in 2000 thanks to the idea of Jerry Vile, who wanted to promote, publish and propagate erotic art in all forms. The dream was to make a modest, small exhibition featuring artworks by mostly local artists and create a space where people would enter without any restrains, prejudices and fears. What followed the inaugural show was beyond anyone’s expectations – the show was an instant hit and now, 16 years later, it breaks all records in number of visitors. Wittily using the year’s most romantic days, Valentine week, Dirty Show welcomes hundreds of artists, as well as one special celebrity guest at the 36,000 square foot Russell Industrial Exhibition Center.
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The most asked about question every year whether the show promotes porn or art (you can learn about the difference in our article When Does Erotic Art Turn Into Porn?). After thorough analysis of the semantic origins, the show’s organizers claim that the focus of the exhibition is 100% artistic. After few years gathering mostly local artists, as the show got bigger so did the interest for the participation in the event. Now, three months before the show, artists across the world can submit their artistry and maybe get the chance to display their works in a variety of mediums at The Detroit Show. It is a rather unique opportunity to check out unique sculptures, interesting concepts on canvas and photographic pieces by notable and underground artists, all tacking eroticism as their main topic.
This year's Dirty Show will present its first-ever Feature Exhibit, held within the main event at Russel Exhibition Center, February 12-21st. Curated by the new Exhibition Director, Genevive Zacconi, the Feature Exhibit boasts a star-studded lineup of artists – working in an array of mediums, including painting, sculpture, digital art, and photography. Artists include Shawn Barber, Clive Barker, Glenn Barr, Matthew Bone, Scott G. Brooks, Matt Buck, Saturno Butto, Colin Christian, Robert Craig, Steve Diet Goedde, Dan Dos Santos, Ron English, H.R. Giger, Michael Hussar, John John Jesse, Aunia Kahn, Jason Levesque, Alexandra Manukyan, Aaron Nagel, Billy Norrby, Gail Potocki, Steve Prue, David Stoupakis, Terri Thomas, Brian Viveros, Tony Ward and Pamela Wilson.
Detroit’s best attended art show, as called by Metro Times, welcomes one special guest artist every year. This February, Dirty Show invited legendary director and actor John Waters, best known for his cult movies such as Hairspray (1988) and Pink Flamingos (1972). Waters, 68, will stage an updated version of his stage show, This Filthy World: Filthier and Dirtier on the first day of the show, February 12th. In the show, Waters discusses his earliest (negative) influences, his films, and the trash genre he would become known for. Other featured artists include Glenn Barr, Colin Christian, Shawn Barber, and even the late sci-fi extraordinaire H.R. Giger. Afterwards, Waters will meet attendees and sign autographs. His latest book, Carsick, a fiction-nonfiction account of his hitchhike from his native Baltimore to San Francisco, will be also available at the show (read about Water's current exhibition at Marianne Boesky Gallery).
The Dirty Show is a unique opportunity to expand your horizons and at the same time participate in one of the biggest shows Detroit has even hosted. The Dirty Show opens February 12th with John Waters’ performance, and closes February 21st in the 36,000 square foot Russell Industrial Exhibition Center, spreading on two floors. For all the additional info on tickets and time table, visit The Dirty Show website.