Erotic Art from Japanese Masters and Contemporary Artists [NSFW]

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Mixing erotic Japanese woodblock prints from hundreds of years ago with works in a variety of media by contemporary artists who have a sexy slant, Images from a Floating World: 18th & 19th Century Japanese Erotic Prints and the Echo in Modern & Contemporary Art at New York’s Fredericks & Freiser presents an amusing overview of art that should be putting viewers to bed rather than providing an afternoon delight.

Japanese Ukiyo-e masters Suzuki Harunobu and Utagawa Kunisada offer couples vividly doing the nasty, while their latter day American counterparts appear tame by comparison yet still pack some humor into the act. John Wesley portrays a pair of screwing squirrels; Mickalene Thomas captures the beauty of a black temptress in a low rent boudoir; and Carroll Dunham imagines a giant tarantula mounting a well-endowed white woman in an exotic locale.

Arousing and entertaining, Images from a Floating World shows that when it comes to picturing eroticism, artists working today can still learn a lot from the past.

Images from a Floating World: 18th & 19th Century Japanese Erotic Prints and the Echo in Modern & Contemporary Art is on view at Fredericks & Freiser through March 5.

William Copley, Untitled (Lady with Garter Belt), 1973. Charcoal on paper, 10 x 15 inches, Courtesy Damon Brandt Arts, New York

Carroll Dunham, Untitled (2/18/09), 2009. Colored pencil on paper, 11 1/8 x 14 3/4 inches. Courtesy Fredericks & Freiser, New York

Suzuki Harunobu, Lovers Watched by a Maid (Night Rain), 1724 – 1770. Color woodblock, 8 1/2 x 10 3/4 inches

Ghada Amer, E-Nicole, 2009. Embroidery on paper, 19 1/8 x 22 9/8 inches, Courtesy Cheim & Read, New York

Kohei Yoshiyuki, Untitled (From the Series The Park), 1971. Gelatin Silver Print, 16 x 20, Edition 10/10, Copyright Kohei Yoshiyuki, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York

Anonymous-Meiji Period, Untitled, (two men, one woman), 1890. Color woodblock, 9 1/4 x 13 3/4 inches

John Wesley, Squirrels, 1970. Acrylic on paper, 12 3/4 x 12 inches, Courtesy Fredericks & Freiser, New York

Mickalene Thomas, Tamika sur une chaise longue, 2008. Mounted c-print, 24 x 29.5 inches, Courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York

Utagawa Kunisada, Untitled, (Bald man in Grey Kimono with Woman), c.1830. Color woodblock, 8 3/4 x 13 inches

Lisa Yuskavage, Disheveled Blond, 1999. Gouache and pastel on paper, 12 3/4 x 9 3/4 inches. Copyright the artist. Courtesy Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York

Nobuyoshi Araki, Untitled “Les Miserables (Mujo)”, 2004/2005, B & W Print, 13. 5 x 16.2 inches, Courtesy Fredericks & Freiser, NY

Attributed to Hokuichi (Active 1804 – 1830), Untitled (Two Women), c. 1820. Section from a painted scroll, 18 1/2 x 25 1/4 inches, (frame size)