Abreast of Modern Art: Pleasures and Perils of the Erotic Fairground


Bompas & Parr, a famous UK conceptual artistic pairing, first rose to acclaim with culinary pieces of sculptural gelatin; but after the enormous food fight that erupted at their “Architectural Jelly Banquet,” their exhibitions not only started becoming paid events, but also began to branch passed the Jell-O brand of mastery. These Wonka-esque gents continued on to making glow-in-the-dark jelly for international celeb DJ/musician, Mark Ronson, flavor-changing gum and even a set of scratch-and-sniff cards to accompany Bill Forsyth’s film Gregory’s Girl in Edinburgh’s Festival Square for a full-sensory experience.

So, what can be expected from this conceptual consortium at New York’s Museum of Sex this summer? Well, the title alone starts the conversation…FUNLAND: Pleasures & Perils of the Erotic Fairground. The exhibit “opens to the public and… will launch featuring five “carnival attractions” designed to stimulate all the senses in some subtle and not-so-subtle ways,” states nyartbeat.com.

FUNLAND is meant to interact with all of the human senses in one space, at one time. The attempt is to give the attendees rushes of endorphins and stimuli throughout the experience to favor their basic, visceral reactions.


“Amongst the interactive experiences, visitors are invited to jump high in “Jump for Joy,” a moonbounce made of giant, over-sized breasts, scale a wall of orifices and appendages in “Grope Mountain,” and lose themselves in “The Tunnel of Love,” a mirrored labyrinth that leads patrons on a climactic journey to the Gräfenberg (or “G”) Spot,” states museumofsex.com.

In order to better delve into the historical factors and contexts of eroticism in the mainstream fairground realm, Bompas & Parr have collaborated with Director of the UK National Fairground Archive and recent speaker at the PSFK Conference, Professor Vanessa Toulmin. According to The University of Sheffield staff bio: “She is a leading authority on Victorian entertainment and film, and has completed extensive research on traveling showpeople. She also acts as a leading authority on new variety and circus and has acted as creative advisor to leading festivals in the United Kingdom including the Roundhouse in London and Showzam in Blackpool.”

So, from Jell-O to “G” Spots, this duo is bringing something quite interesting, and informative, to the concrete jungle of Manhattan. Dare to peek “inside”? The exhibit is now open…



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