Tickles My Fancy - Art from a Gay Collection

Tickles My Fancy - Art from a Gay Collection

I am Jerry Zientara, curator of the Tickles My Fancy installation. Dr. Victoria, director of the Erotic Heritage Museum, has honored me with an invitation to share with you some of the choice specimens from my collections.
To say something tickles my fancy means it brings a twinkle to my eye, a smile to my lips, a vibration to my heart and a spark to my imagination. Each work in this display has done that for me often over long periods of time.
As an erotologist, a sexologist specializing in depictions of love and sex, I have assembled examples of many erotic persuasions. Is it gay? Is it erotic? The sexological answer is, of course, yes, no and maybe. You will be the judge.
I am totally gay. My collections reflect my tastes, but not all this art is “gay,” nor does this exhibit represent other tastes of mine, such as the salt-and-pepper shakers, books and magazines, textiles and flashlights. Also, I might add, in some cases, I have many more examples at home.

We -ologists thrive on categories, so I would like to point out some of the ones in Tickles My Fancy. First, we have works by other artists, and on the other hand, those by me, myself and moi. Most of the artists in this show are personal friends, and their works have come to me via purchase, swaps and giftings. Some I have inherited, as from my friend Larry Riepe, whose self-portrait you will find in the exhibit.

There is the distinction between flat artworks and the sculptural pieces. There are also genre distinctions: portraits, and especially self-portraits; figure studies; abstractions; collages; and so on.
Another category involves the social milieux from which art grows. There are several works here from the San Francisco

​​Jacks, a men’s social masturbation group, now in its 35th year of continuous spurt. Many Jacks are also artists, and we have developed quite a body of work in our archiv​e, inspired directly by our erotic pursuits. Some of these artists are represented in the display, along with graphics designs of my own.

Another group of artifacts relates to the Altered Barbie Show. I presented Barbies for several years in this annual event, where I met many artists, some of whom became friends, and I added to my collection with numerous purchases, even.

But years before, I already had my own collection.

My first Ken was a gift. I took him with me to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, and we came home with a krewe of a dozen costumed revelers. I found a pair of Mary dolls once on the way to a Mother Goose (mixed-gender play-party), and then the Barbies started showing up. Sometimes at a yard sale, I had to buy a boxful all at once, so I got quite a few Barbies in order to collect the Kens among them. Later, Sun Goddess Barbie came. She cost $200, and her dress is sewn onto her. She was very standoffish and wouldn’t mix with the other dolls. One day, I tied her to a horse, and suddenly she became terrifically popular, even running for president. After that, Little People began to take over.

How many Little People belong to my collections? Several years ago, after 350 figures, I stopped counting. I probably should mention that the Little People enact constant joyfulness as a hymn to the happier deities of the various pantheons, such as Tibetan prayer wheels, as a process of planet healing, taking over my home.

Another group of images includes well-known gay artists, such as the Hun and unknowns whose careers ended with the AIDS epidemic, such as Hauk and Thor.

Also, especially in the slideshows, I have featured some of the diversity of gay sex in action, so our non-gay visitors can enjoy reflections of their own personal lives. If you try this at home, start slowly.

I hope your fancies will be tickled while viewing the exhibit and that your smiles will radiate into the rest of your lives.

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