Based on the book of the same name by the scholar, activist, writer and teacher, Mel Gordon, this new exhibit is being touted as a “celebration of sexual positivity” in the years before Hitler’s reign.
“Surely, people are acquainted with the movie ‘Cabaret,’ and have probably seen or read about some of what was happening in Berlin just before Hitler came to power,” said Dr. Victoria Hartmann, the EHM’s director. “But what Mel Gordon studied, and what this exhibit reiterates, is what a fresh and free cultural spirit Berlin presented to the German people at the time.”
She added, “Hitler did his best to stamp out that spirit, burning great works of art, censoring pretty much all expression not in lock-step with his insane vision,” noting that the new exhibit was mounted to “explore and celebrate the spirit of free and positive sexual expression as seen in Berlin, and lovingly championed throughout Mel Gordon’s work.”
The “Voluptuous Panic” exhibit explores the notoriously liberal sexual attitudes of the years just prior to the outbreak of WWII, known popularly as the Weimar Republic in Germany.
In addition to the many artifacts gathered from the treasure trove of Mel Gordon’s collection, the “Voluptuous Panic: The Erotic World of Weimar Berlin” exhibition also features newly discovered works by the “father of sexology,” Magnus Hirschfeld.
As an EHM rep noted, “Weimer’s Berlin was a time especially ripe with sexual researchers, hedonistic partiers, family-friendly nudist colonies… and the curious onlookers that always orbit such expression. This new exhibit, which contains scholarly notes, books, magazines, posters and photos from Gordon’s collection, joins both the permanent and changing array of significant historical accounts of positive sexuality and freedom [that] the EHM consistently displays to the public.”