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26 January 2007
LAS VEGAS, NV- The Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV, customarily displays fine art by world-renown photographers, painters, sculptors, and other artists, so its latest exhibit, ‘Toon Erotica, is something of a departure from previous shows.
“It’s a departure in two senses,” admits Solomon R. Guggehheim Museum’s curator of contemporary art, Vernon Bell. “First, the artists are amateurs. Second, their work is imitative, for the sake of parody, rather than original.”
The original work that the exhibit’s art satirizes is drawn from comic strips, comic books, animated television series, and full-length animated films and features such popular cartoons and comics as Popeye, Dennis the Menace, Peanuts, Marvel and DC Comics, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, The Simpsons, Peter Pan, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Scooby Dooby Doo, and many others.
Many of the family-oriented cartoons and comics are vehicles for incest humor, those that contain animal characters frequently involve bestiality, and others depict pedophilia. "The exhibit has something for everyone," Bell contends. All of the characters are drawn in “compromising positions that make the voyeur--I mean, viewer--chuckle.”
Bellagio’s General Manager Xavier Holloway, something of an amateur art critic himself, said, “Peter Pan’s Tinkerbell is the centerpiece of the exhibit. Because of her diminutive size, she is shown, in several of the paintings, cavorting with a penis. The trick, for the artists, is to render the same satirical image without repeating themselves and without creating a sense of ennui among the viewers. This is accomplished by depicting the male member in various states, such as flaccid, erect, and ejaculatory, and by posing the fairy in various positions near or upon the organ. Of course, the more imaginative artists also make use of Tinkerbell’s wand, pixie dust, and wings.”
The show will continue through June, Bell said, “after which, we will exhibit something much less controversial, such as the homoerotic photographs of Robert Mapplethorpe.”
Bell agrees, reminding the public, “They don’t call Las Vegas ‘Sin City’ for nothing.”
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