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The sketches at DiverseWorks aren’t bad. They’re just drawn that way.

by Tim Brookover

Contemporary Erotic Drawings was planned long before November 2, but the exhibition does seem a cheeky rebuke to the presidential election and the morality chatter that has ensued. Leave it to DiverseWorks to subvert the holier-than-thou Zeitgeist (which New York Times columnist Frank Rich has pointed out is a hypocrisy anyway in a nation that makes Desperate Housewives a hit). In its 20th-anniversary season, DiverseWorks, deep in the heart of red-state Bushworld (thanks, Maureen Dowd), organized Contemporary Erotic Drawings with the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in blue-state Connecticut. In the cultural realm, at least, apparently we can all get along.

Stephen Andrews, one of the 34 artists with pieces in the exhibition, is a gay Canadian (thus twice blessed). His work has increasingly dealt with identity and representation, body issues, and AIDS, especially since he lost his partner to the disease in 1993—often employing the subversive wit that shoots through Contemporary Erotic Drawings. His five drawings at DiverseWorks, besides the one reproduced here, include the delightfully named Spicy Boy and Hot Ass.

Indeed, many of the titles alone on the 99 works in the exhibition —Johnny’s Behind, Breast-holder, Phallic Series #1, and others we dare not print—will give the Focus on the Family crowd the vapors. That is reason enough to enjoy the show, which opens January 28.

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