A pocket watch with a secret rear chamber, a wooden dough scraper, a shiny leather boot, a fresh bread roll – even before Freud, people were attributing erotic qualities to things. The exhibition 'The Eroticism of Things' traces the material and immaterial production of eroticism. Shape and color, purpose and use, implicit allusions and explicit renderings all make things the stuff of erotic fantasies, while also making them eloquent documents for a cultural history of sexuality.
Using examples culled from the collections of sexolo- gists Magnus Hirschfeld (1868-1935) and Alfred Kinsey (1894-1956) and from Naomi Wilzig’s (1934-2015) art collection, the exhibition sheds light on differing natures of and intents in collecting, classifying, presenting, and interpreting erotic things. The show asks what distinguishes eroticism, sexuality, and pornography from each other, how erotic objects reinforce or question gender relations, and how the everyday use of things can even turn killers of love into agents of love.