Bella.que.arte Fails to Satisfy
On March 10, 2011, the University of Puerto Rico took a short break from its social and political unrest to hold an erotic art exhibit. Sadly, it failed to live up to its potential.
The show, titled “Bella.que.arte” as a play on words in slang, meant to “sex you up” through art. It was held in the Fine Arts building of the university, three days after a crowd of protesting students attacked the president of the institution.
At the moment, the country was yet again debating the ethics of the protests taking place and the future of the university. The scene was set with the expectation for some truly controversial, shocking, disgusting, and absolutely perverted works of art. However, the majority of the pieces were tame, with exception to a pair of tits on display and a few other gaudy pieces that dared to be explicit. Even so, the showcase had some gorgeous pieces that shone through their artistic style and the talent of the artists involved. All of the art on display was done by students of the university.
Each piece of work had a scrap of paper next to it, where the spectator could write a comment. Most of the pieces were mixed-media and were done on a simple piece of canvas paper, while a few were erotic photographs and one was a video projected onto the wall of the building. Some of the pieces were blatant depictions of sex and masturbation, but most were beautiful paintings that featured the naked body.
As I walked through the two hallways used for the exhibit, I never found myself thinking “How could they?!” as I was really hoping to do. I went there hoping to be shocked and awed, maybe even feeling a little dirty, but the only reactions I had was: “That’s it?”. As I passed from painting to painting, I noticed that the comment cards reflected the same sentiment; one even included the forbidden word: “cliché”.
All in all, at the end of the night, I felt that the show fell short of what could have been accomplished: I was able to see all of the work within a half hour, and at the end I was left with metaphorical blue balls.