Modern Provocateur Manifesto

Modern Provocateur is an expansive contemporaneous term that describes artwork that depicts, or is about human sexuality. The art thematics may include polemical intent, e.g. challenging political or socially inscribed roles.

As part of the contemporary art movement, artists engage the public in very challenging ways. At times, artwork features transgressive content and form, including the depiction of what has been long regarded as private in unexpected formats. This work, however; moves far beyond pornography or erotica, as it is critically engaged in not only the expression of sexuality, but also the idea of reception. In terms of visual representation, it can be either explicit and include images, symbolic motifs, or it can be the evocation of human sexuality in allegorical, metaphoric or symbolic terms.

The genre encompasses all mediums, from classical studio works to new technologies and performance based works. The terminology takes into account not only social change, e.g. more societal openness about female sexual expression, bisexuality, homosexuality, transgendered and pansexuality within our culture. This genre also addresses formal concerns such as the pervasiveness of sexualized or erotic imagery in the digital world, commercial or otherwise, as well as post-war artistic practice that involved the use of the body as the canvas or primary expressive mode.

The complexity of this type of visual art often causes scandal, protest, out- rage or shock. The criticism is often myopic, and does not always take into account the entire narrative or concept behind the work, or the maker, or the construction of socially acceptable parameters. Particularly in western culture, a less than holistic attitude towards the expression of sexuality exists.

Modern Provocateur celebrates the beauty of the anima and animus with- in each person, and permits both the artist and the viewer to express and explore without shame or apology. #modernprovocateur

 – Dr. Laura Henkel and Rosa JH Berland