The fine line between Art and Porn

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by Robert Millard

In the lobby at the first intermission, we all asked the question, “Is this production art or is it porn?” Those who said “porn” had to ask if it was wrong to use porn. After all, the Venusberg does represent carnality, the pure devotion to pleasure. And if Wagner, who wanted to be a dangerous composer, could have shown porn onstage at Paris when he added the first-act bacchanale in 1861, perhaps he would have done so. Shouldn’t we all experience carnality, even titillation, now that everything is permitted?

On the other hand, those who said “art” should admit that overall, the production was a failure – for hardly anyone spent time talking about the high art of the music
LA Downtown News Online:

It’s a fine line we walk and an even finer distinction. what may be porn for some is art for another and even boring for a select few. However, when something is calculated to shock, to raise a fuss – where is the line then? I think, by it’s very nature, the line is a long way away – some might even say non-existient.

This new take on opera is definitely raising eyebrows and putting bums in seats, but is it worth it? at what point does it become more about the scandal than the art itself? and is that the point?

It’s an established tradition to create a sensation and controversy around different art forms. the old saying goes that all publicity is good publicity, but I think this is frequently taken as carte blanche to create a spectacle so that the actual art is of less interest than the news surrounding it. I think the opinion above is perfectly apt. There is nothing wrong with it being a “pornographic” display, as long as the two are twined together and each complements the other. but the key factor to this opera, the music, seems to have been lost. and that can only be a shame.


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One thought on “The fine line between Art and Porn

  1. I watched the film ‘Eyes wide shut’. Aquaintances said it was pornographic. What I saw was great cinematography keeping me on the edge of the seat saying “dont do it” to the main actors. What i saw pretty much carried a morality play.

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