50 Shades Of Class

Tyler Shields Provocateur, 2014 Guy Hepner
Tyler Shields
Provocateur, 2014
Guy Hepner

50 Shades of Grey in Art and Literature

This Valentine’s Day, Sam Taylor-Johnson’s film adaptation of the novel 50 Shades of Grey (2011) by E. L. James is released worldwide. The novel about the passionate affair between literature student Anastasia Steele and  businessman Christian Grey  has sold over 100 million copies, asuring that the film will be a blockbuster. Judging by the promotion, trailer and most critics, the film is a mushy example that nowadays Hollywood completely fails when it comes to lust and submission. The movie might be as sexy as the fifty shades of gray app but it has a lot of predecessors in literature and art, objects, images, and ideas that scintillate mysteriously and personal. In celebration of the book and film’s fitting release date, Christine Kuan chief curator of the art portal Artsy takes a look at seven (lust being the first of the seven deadly sins) of the most scandalous books dealing with illicit sex, and 50 accompanying artworks that have the potential to titillate, disturb, seduce, and provoke in shades of grey.

Domenico Gnoli Shirt Collar 14½, 1969 Dickinson
Domenico Gnoli
Shirt Collar 14½, 1969
Dickinson
Helmut Newton The Pearl Necklace, Hotel Bel Air, 2002 Galerie Hans Mayer
Helmut Newton
The Pearl Necklace, Hotel Bel Air, 2002
Galerie Hans Mayer

 

Jacob Aue Sobol Untitled #33, From the series "I, Tokyo", 2006-2008 Yossi Milo Gallery
Jacob Aue Sobol
Untitled #33, From the series “I, Tokyo”, 2006-2008
Yossi Milo Gallery
Daniel Arsham Ash Eroded Locks, 2013 Galerie Ron Mandos
Daniel Arsham
Ash Eroded Locks, 2013
Galerie Ron Mandos