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The Art of the Joy of Sex

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Yes, I know, you never actually read Dr Alex Comfort’s 1970s classic, The Joy of Sex, but you heard about it. Or maybe you read it just to admire the illustrations? Those startling pencil drawings of that very hairy man using the woman as a wheelbarrow (among other things)?

In this delightful, barmy film, jolly conceptual artist Julie Verhoeven decides she’s going to make a video installation based on The Joy of Sex for the Institute of Contemporary Art in London.

Verhoeven, a woman of singular imagination, gets a friend to make soft sculptures that look like erotic duvets, which she then arranges on models. The finished work is as bonkers as you’d expect.


In 1972, British author Alex Comfort published The Joy of Sex, an illustrated sex manual detailing a variety of sexual practices and positions. The illustrations were created by British artist and science fiction illustrator Chris Foss and here, modern artist and illustrator Julie Verhoeven reinterprets Foss's original work by having sitters pose for her while also taking an entirely new conceptual approach to the work.


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