Home Arts Photographs from Madonna’s Sex book auctioned for the first time

Photographs from Madonna’s Sex book auctioned for the first time

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Photograph prints from Madonna’s hugely popular 1992 Coffee Table Book Sex will be available for purchase for the first time at Christie’s New York this fall, as part of ongoing plans to mark the controversial publication’s 30th anniversary.

In October, 40 prints published for the first time in Sex will be offered for sale in a special stand-alone auction. Each print will be a unique, signed edition by Madonna and fashion photographer Steven Meisel, who photographed the 134-page book, with prices ranging from $30,000 to $50,000 on the low end up to $300,000. , according to Darius Himes, vice president of Christie, global head of photography. Proceeds will go to Raising Malawia non-profit organization founded by Madonna in 2006 to support orphans and vulnerable children nationwide.

“30 years later, Sex is still somewhat controversial, but it still reads like a very body and sex positive book,” says Himes. “It was both shocking and moving and captured so much white energy coming from Madonna in the early 1990s.”

Print prices range from $30,000 to $300,000, Christie’s said. Courtesy of Christie’s

The publication of Sexwhich was released in tandem with the pop star’s fifth album Eroticcaused a worldwide stir in the early 1990s. The book included photographs of Madonna and others in the nude and simulating sex acts. Sex also featured Madonna’s boyfriend, rapper Vanilla Ice, and stars like model Naomi Campbell and socialite Tatiana von Fürstenberg. The Vatican told its supporters to boycott the book, which has been banned in countries like Ireland and Japan. Always, Sex was an instant commercial success and sold over 1.5 million copies.

The photographs featured in the sale were selected by Madonna, Meisel and Anthony Vaccarello, the creative director of Saint Laurent, who released a second limited series of Sex last year in Miami to coincide with Art Basel in Miami Beach. The 800 copies, all signed by the interpreter of Like a Virgin, are sold out and a temporary exhibition photographs was a popular draw.

Himes describes the series of photographs as “both playful and erotic”, adding that Meisel’s images hold up well, even three decades later.

The prints will be exhibited at Christie’s galleries in London, Paris and New York ahead of the October auction. Courtesy of Christie’s

“The series captures a moment in time from one of the great fashion photographers of her generation and the Queen of Pop. While there is playfulness and country spirit, there is also a classic ongoing nude study. I think they resonate across generations,” Himes says.

Sex was published near the end of the AIDS epidemic in the United States, Himes notes, and the book featured outspoken portrayals of homosexuality at a time when same-sex relationships were less accepted in the mainstream.

In an Instagram Story from October, Madonna said she helped pave the way for other female artists to express their sexuality, although at the time she faced backlash for including songs. pictures of “men kissing men, [women] embrace [women] and me hugging everyone”.

One of the most memorable photographs of SEX shows Madonna walking naked down a Miami street. Courtesy of Christie’s

“I spent the next few years being interviewed by narrow-minded people who tried to shame me for empowering myself as a woman,” Madonna wrote. “I have been called a whore, a witch, a heretic and a devil.”

Sex wasn’t Madonna’s only controversial foray into art. Last year, she teamed up with digital artist Beeple to release a line of three NFT (non-fungible tokens) based on a 3D scan of the naked singer. The NFTs show Madonna giving birth to creatures like butterflies, centipedes, and even a tree.

After facing backlash over what some described as a vulgar cash grab, Madonna defended herself saying that the project only depicts her doing “what women have been doing since the dawn of time, which is giving birth”.

“We still operate and live under the male gaze, and unfortunately we obey what we think people want us to do,” Madonna said during a Twitter Spaces interview with Beeple in May 2022. is often a challenge to create works of art… and it’s not always pretty.

Before the October auction, the photographs will be exhibited at Christie’s London from May 23 to June 2, then in Paris from June 27 to July 6 before heading to New York on September 30 where they will be exhibited until October 6.

With 1.5 million copies sold, SEX remains the best-selling coffee book. Courtesy of Christie’s

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