For this week’s paper, I wrote a story on the Sex Workers’ Art Show, a touring cabaret-style showcase that brings prostitutes, strippers, and porn actors off the pole, out of bed, and onto the stage. The show presented a twist on the age old question: What is (sex) art?
In the story, I quote porn performer Lorelei Lee, who says that while filming porn can feel like working the assembly line or flipping burgers at a fast food joint, it can also achieve meaningful expression. For Lee, porn DVDs can be art.
Fine. But the Sex Workers’ Art Show seems to want all sex industry wage earners to be considered “sex artists.” I’d submit that they are “sex artisans.” Sex workers are skilled in their craft. That doesn’t mean they’re creating art, necessarily. As Lee suggests, sex workers can be artists. But factory workers and hamburger makers can be artists, too.
Where does one draw the line between sex art and sex craft? Ponder that while checking out our NSFW audio slideshow of burlesque performer and Sex Workers’ Art Show participant Dirty Martini devouring money and then pulling it out of her ass. Naked.