Filthy Fun: Dirty Show Celebrates 20 Years of Erotic Art

Courtesy of the Dirty Show

Click the audio player above to hear the full conversation. CultureShift airs weekdays 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. on 101.9 WDET-FM Detroit Public Radio.

One of the largest exhibitions of erotic art in the country celebrates 20 years this weekend — right here in Detroit.

It’s called the Dirty Show — a mix of art from local and international artists alongside burlesque performances in a massive warehouse at the Russell Industrial Center.

In an interview on CultureShift, Dirty Show founder Jerry Vile talked about how the event has evolved over the years.

20 years ago, there was no real erotic-art landscape in Detroit,” Vile explains. “There’s always been people in this world that are going to be haters—especially anything to do with sex. People seem to really dislike other people having fun or doing anything that would be against their personal code of ethics. The world isn’t going to adhere to anybody else’s ethics and…that’s what the Dirty Show does—it’s not adhering to any set of ethics. Anything is open. We don’t censor things.”

Erron Reed is a co-producer and builder for the show.

(The Dirty Show) keeps us…more in touch than a lot of the traditional galleries with what’s going on in society and culture today,” says Reed. “In the 16 years, or so, that I’ve been around the show, the art has definitely changed completely based on…the tone of the city and the tone of the country and the tone of politics and it’s great to see that.” 

Last year, there was an emphasis on highlighting the Me Too Movement and LGBTQ artists.

This year, that’s become the norm.

They’re no longer oddities that come in the submission box. They’re more commonplace,” Vile says. 

According to Reed, submissions for this year’s Dirty Show are almost 50-50 when it comes to men and women artists submitting artwork. 

The atmosphere that the show creates…is comfortable for women to be themselves,” he says. “You’d think at a show where it’s erotic-art you’re going to get a bunch of bro-colonies hanging out…but it’s not like that. We get groups of women that come and have a great time.” 

Click on the audio player above to hear the Dirty Show organizers discuss the evolution of the event and how erotic-art is reflection on politics. 

Image credit: Courtesy of the Dirty Show

Aired on: CultureShift
About the Author

Ryan Patrick Hooper

Host, CultureShift

Ryan Patrick Hooper has worked as an arts and culture journalist in Detroit for over a decade.   Follow @hoopingtonpost

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