Pornographic art  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

In her 1967 essay "The Pornographic Imagination", Susan Sontag argued that certain works of literature considered pornography need to be acknowledged as works of literary merit, famously stating that "Pierre Louys' Trois filles de leur mère, George Bataille's Histoire de l'Oeil and Madame Edwarda, the pseudonymous Story of O and The Image belong to literature."

When Sontag wrote those words, the notion of the respectability of erotic literature was beginning to be established, but the notion of pornographic literature being just as respectable was new. The use of the word pornography coupled with positive attributes was unheard of.

This was at the height of the sexual revolution but also at the beginning of the mingling of high and low culture, what would come to be termed nobrow in postmodern times.

Tellingly, the Eberhard and Phyllis Kronhausens mention in their book The Complete Book of Erotic Art(?) how one day, they witnessed the transformation from pornography to art:

"We had occasion, in fact, to watch the transformation of pornography into art before our own eyes when Hans Bellmer one day worked in our presence, making a complicated and highly erotic engraving from a series of common pornographic photographs."

In the seventies there was the porno chic era, in the eighties there was Robert Mapplethorpe, in the nineties Jeff Koons's "Made in Heaven" (1990–91) series and at the turn of the 21st century there was the New French Extremity in cinema and John Currin and Lisa Yuskavage in painting.

The academic study of pornography began in 1989 with the publication of Hard Core: Power, Pleasure (1989) by Linda Williams.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Pornographic art" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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