What’s it all about?
Marking the re-launch of the Collection, this show will be the first UK exhibition to bring together the pioneers of the study of sex, featuring over 200 objects covering art, erotica, film and medical artefacts. The aim is to take you on a journey, tracing the paths that lifted taboos and during which sexology became a legitimate area of research.
What will we see?
‘Jugum penises’ are amongst some of the most striking items on display. These steel, spiked ‘anti-masturbation devices’ were used from the 18th century to prevent men loosing sperm, which were then believed to carry vital energies. Such devices sit alongside erotic images, carvings and sex machines. But away from the horror and the titillation, the exhibition creates a fascinating story of the way that sex has been perceived through the ages.
Meet the sexologists
We explore Kinsey’s move from entomologist to a man who obsessively compiled sexual histories in post-war America. He amassed 18,000 before his death in 1956. But these sexploits may pale next to the secret laboratory that William Masters and Virginia Johnson established at Washington University in the 1960s. Here they observed hundreds of people having sex while measuring heart rate, lubrication, blood pressure, brain activity and organ size.
Words from the Curator
“The Institute of Sexology offers a complex, often contradictory story of the study of sex,” explains Kate Forde, curator of the exhibit. Whether it is through a scientific chart of a hand written testimony “all are caught up in attempts to free us from the tyranny of preconceived ideas about sex, and suggest that our understanding about our sexual identities is a story of constant evolution.”
The show will also feature contemporary works by artists including Sharon Hayes and John Stezaker. Writer and director, Neil Bartlett, has been commissioned to revisit the current National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, first carried out in 1990, and what it means today. Having a whole year’s run, the exhibition will also grow with plans to commission new pieces as it continues.
|What||The Institute of Sexology, Wellcome Collection|
|Where||Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Rd, London, NW1 2BE | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Euston (underground)|
20 Nov 14 – 20 Sep 15, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
|Website||Click here for more information via the Wellcome Collection|