Modern Provocateur Manifesto

The 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, these artists engage their public often 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 category encompasses all mediums, from classical studio works such as sketches and painting to film, multimedia, sculpture, photography, digital and performance based work. The terminology takes into account not only social change, e.g. more societal openness about female sexual expression, the increasing acceptance of bisexuality, homosexuality and transgendered people 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 is in part because when it does cause scandal, protest, outrage 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. As well, 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 within each of us, and permits both the artist and the viewer to express and explore without shame or apology. #modernprovocateur

 – Dr. Laura Henkel and Rosa JH Berland