The 14th of this month, Valentine’s Day, is a day to celebrate love. This year, however, the number 14 is also significant to love’s seedier carnal kin, lust, as the annual erotic art exhibition The Dirty Show celebrates its 14th year in Detroit.
Conceived in 2000 by Jerry Vile, former publisher of the defunct Orbit magazine, The Dirty Show consists of still shots, sculptures, and live spectacles of varying degrees of erotica.
The exhibit is certainly not for the faint of heart. One highlight of this year’s show, Between Nothingness and Paradise, is a sculptural installation of three taxidermy horses by New York-based artist Gregory de la Haba. Because of the explicit nature of the piece, The Dirty Show marks only the third time it will be showcased.
“There’s not a lot of places that this work can be seen, and that’s what makes this event so fun,” says Vile (real name Jerry Peterson).
The Dirty Show team receives thousands of submissions from around the world each year, but Detroit artists make up the bulk of the exhibited work.
“I think it’s Detroit that makes us like we are,” Vile says. “It’s the people.”
Anyone over 21 and curious is welcome, so long as their sense of humor is intact. The absurdity of many of the pieces has come to be a show mainstay. “There’s a lot of laughter in The Dirty Show,” Vile says. “We’re not good at being pretentious. We really like to have fun.”