I work in Hollywood: not in “the business” of Hollywood, but literally in Hollywood. This means that in order to pick up lunch, return a pair of socks, get a prescription filled or spend too much money at Sephora, I have to stroll the Walk of Fame between Vine and Highland. On a salad run two weeks ago, I spotted The Erotic Museum, which was a little late on my part, since it opened last fall. (I usually walk on the south side of the street, okay?)
Today, I decided to pony up the $12.95 admission charge to see what the museum had to offer. I expected to find a room full of cleverly designed vibrators, a la the design wing of the Museum of Modern Art in New York (which has its own Museum of Sex, though Los Angeles probably deserved one first, what with being the porn capital of the world and all). The Erotic Museum’s “Sex and Technology” exhibit delivered that, though there were no Vitra models of dildos available in the museum shop.
What I didn’t expect was a carefully assembled, if very small, collection of erotic art covering a wide spectrum from Pablo Picasso to Tom of Finland housed within a really lovely space. In fact, the Erotic Museum generally makes good on its promise to “educate the public about human sexuality by creating entertaining exhibitions regarding the broad range of mankind’s erotic endeavor through the ages.”
The exhibits are indeed entertaining, if not cohesive. A timeline of vibrators includes a profile of the, er, accidental sensation Harry Potter Nimbus 2000 vibrating broomstick. Displayed above the toy are a host of Amazon.com reviews, with seemingly clueless parents raving about the broomstick’s popularity. Only one reviewer mentioned the obvious and said her daughter would continue to play “with the batteries removed.”
The finest work the museum has to offer, however, is not its scant Picasso “collection” (two late etchings) but rather works from Julian Murphy’s “Objects of Desire” series, including erotically mannerist airbrush-and-gauche renderings of Swiss army knives, clothespins, garden shears and vacuum cleaners, and a giant set of Russian nesting dolls in various states of bondage.
The Erotic Museum provided me with an amusing lunchtime diversion, but with its exorbitant admission price and anemic collection, it’s not something I’ll make a habit of. I’m guessing the museum administrators want to attract a lot of tourist traffic, but with admission limited to folks over 18, they’re not likely to get a lot of families from Omaha. You can become a member of the museum starting at $25 (for students), but methinks most of the cashflow comes from the museum store. Collectors are certainly welcome: On the back of the exhibition guide, the curator makes sure to note that “many of the pieces you see in the exhibition are available for sale. We are always delighted to spend time with collectors brave enough to take their sex lives out of the bedroom and hang it directly on the wall.”
The Erotic Museum is located at 6741 Hollywood Blvd. Call 323 GO EROTIC or log on to www.theeroticmuseum.com for more information.