“Sensitive but resilient, equally available during the day or night with a minimum of coaxing, it has performed purposefully if not always skillfully for an eternity of centuries, endlessly searching, sensing, expanding, probing, penetrating, throbbing, wilting, and wanting more. Never concealing its prurient interest, it is man’s most honest organ.” —Thy Neighbor’s Wife, (1981), Gay Talese.
It’s time for the 25th installment in our series of mini-articles on icons of erotic art. Today’s item is an unabashed tribute to man’s most honest organ, that wonderful extension to the human male’s groin, the wondrous complex of bulging blood vessels, the source of pride of alpha through zeta males: the penis. Here represented by Le Dieu Priape (ca. 1779 – 1795) by French visionary architect and draughtsman Jean-Jacques Lequeu, it shows a large, elegant and powerful phallus. Calling it a phallus, makes it clear that the penis is erect, because let’s face it, in a flaccid state our pride is pretty preposterous.
Staying on the subject of penises, most recently Trevor Brown showed eyeing instances of the male and female anatomy by the 21st century fantastePaul Rumsey.
“Today is my 43d birthday. I would like all lurkers to come out and say hello. Best-wishes, congratulations, happy birthdays from denizens and other fellow psychonauts welcomed. Remember: the journey is the reward.”
Robert Rauschenberg (October 221925 – May 122008) was an American artist who came to prominence in the 1950s transition from Abstract Expressionism to Pop Art and best-known for such works as Retroactive I (1964) which “collaged” images of current events gathered from magazines and newspapers. A large press photograph of John F. Kennedy speaking at a televised news conference was the source for this screen print on canvas. He juxtaposed the image of Kennedy with another photo silkscreen of a parachutingastronaut. The overlapping, and seemingly disparate, composition creates a colorful visual commentary on a media-saturated culture struggling to come to grips with the television era. (see Susan Hapgood’s Neo-Dada, Redefining Art 1958-1962)
The painting was described by John Coulthart in 2008 as a work that could easily serve as an illustration to J. G. Ballard‘s The Atrocity Exhibition. Coulthart added that “Rauschenberg was one of a handful of artists who seemed to depict in visual terms what Ballard was describing in words. In this respect Robert Hughes’s discussion of the “landscape of media” [in The Shock of the New (1980)] (Ballard’s common phrase would be “media landscape”) is coincidental but significant.” 
“Her sole vestment was the linen shroud that had covered her upon her state bed, and the folds of which she drew over her bosom as if she were ashamed of being so little clothed, but her small hand could not manage it. It was so white that the colour of the drapery was confounded with that of the flesh under the pale light of the lamp. Enveloped in the delicate tissue which revealed all the contours of her body, she resembled an antique marble statue of a bather…Dead or living, statue or woman, shadow or body, her beauty was still the same; only the green gleam of her eyes was some what dulled, and her mouth, so purple of yore, had now only a pale, tender rose-tint almost like that of her cheeks.”
Girl with a cup (1850), by Danish painter Constantin Hansen
It’s one of those paintings one finds on the web, they talk to you, you find them 2 weeks ago, they compel you to write about them two weeks later.
A little of Vermeer, Chirico and Balthus in this painting of a girl drinking from a cup. Her gaze is half interrogation and half wonder, but a defiant gaze nevertheless, as if she knows more than she’s willing to admit, and more too, than you would expect her to. There is quite a bit of sadness too, sadness not so much of a girl, but of a grown woman trapped in the body of a girl. As with many interesting 19th century works, it’s hard to tell, is it a kitschy guilty pleasure or just a good painting?