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Selections from the Kinsey Institute Collections

In the fall of 1990, the Kinsey Institute opened a gallery to display selected items from its art, artifact and photography holdings to visiting scholars, researchers, and university classes. A private exhibition was held at the Institute November 29, 1990-May 30, 1991, to inaugurate the gallery, and a catalog of the exhibition was published: Selections from the Collections of The Kinsey Institute, by Joseph P. Becherer. Bloomington, IN: The Kinsey Institute, 1990. A print version of the full catalog may be ordered from the Institute's business office (Kinsey Institute, Morrison 313, Bloomington 47405 812/855-3037) for $15 plus shipping.

Excerpts from the "Introduction," Selections from the Collections of The Kinsey Institute

As manifestations of important aspects of the human condition, images of sex, gender and reproduction have been created in virtually every culture. The collections of art and artifacts at The Kinsey Institute have focused on such imagery as a means of understanding cultural interests and values. The foundations of the collections and library date to the 1940s when Dr. Alfred C. Kinsey began purchasing, with his own funds, objects and books related to sex. These materials were then deeded to the organization that now bears his name soon after it was incorporated in 1947.

The dimensions of The Kinsey Institute's collections of art and artifacts exemplify both the similarities and diversity of creative expression when humans produce images relating to sexuality. Objects from six continents, ranging in date from 3,200 B.C. to the present, are represented in these holdings. The corpus of the collections is divided into four individual categories: Fine Arts, Naive Arts, Ephemera, and Photography.

Paintings, drawings, prints, and sculpture are categorized as either Fine or Naive Arts. Fine Arts are works by accomplished or academically trained artists or those by artists or artisans from known cultural groups. Naive arts are works by children, prisoners, psychiatric patients, and other untrained artists. In addition, there is a large collection of unique, gag, or joke objects, and tourist items, such as posters or trinkets that don't quite fit into the two former categories. These items comprise the Ephemera collection. Finally, the largest and most rapidly growing facet of the collections is Photography. These items represent a wide variety of historical and scientific interests.

Selections from the Collections is the first formal exhibition based on the Institute's collections of art and artifacts. Included are 27 works that highlight two segments of the Fine Arts component of the collections. European and American Art, 1800-1965, and the Art of Oceanic, African, and Pre-Columbian Cultures. The premise of this exhibition is not to present a survey of erotic art, but rather to introduce important aspects of the collection to an appreciative audience. Each entry attempts to inform this audience of the art historical, and/or anthropological significance, as well as the aesthetic merit of the works selected.

In addition to its educational value, Selections from the Collections serves as the catalyst project for the establishment of permanent gallery spaces within The Kinsey Institute and for the development of future exhibitions. All proceeds from this exhibit will help combat the enormous costs of proper archival preservation and conservation of the collections. The Kinsey Institute would be happy to respond to requests for information and regarding its donor policy.

European and American Art, 1800-1965

This section of the catalogue features works by Hans Bellmer, Thomas Hart Benton, Paul Cadmus, Howard Chandler Christy, Otto Dix, Leonor Fini, the School of Gerard, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Felicien Rops, Nicolas Octave Tassaert, and Pavel Tchelitchew.

The Arts of Oceanic, African and Pre-Columbian Cultures

This section of the catalogue includes works from the Kwoma, East Sepik District, Papua, New Guinea; Elcho Island, Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia; the Bamana, Mali, West Africa; the Dogon, Mali, West Africa; the Yoruba, Nigeria, West Africa; and the Moche, Peru, South America.


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