Items from Australia’s first National Museum of Erotica have been listed for sale through Lawson’s auction house. The online auction, entitled ‘Body Politics’, is owned by Victorian MLC Fiona Patten and her partner Robbie Swan. The two have been collecting erotic art and ephemera since the early 1990s.
Ms Patten said that she would be sad to see the collection go as it had been part of their relationship and been collected from all parts of the globe but from the mid 2000s the Museum had taken second place to politics. “Sadly sex has lost out to politics and my increasing work load has made it impossible to continue to house and maintain this collection”. The 160 items up for sale are a mix of erotic fine art, memorabilia and sex industry collectibles – much of it with political themes or messages. Bret Whitely, Lesbia Thorpe, Sidney Nolan, Maree Azzopardi, Richard Larter, John Blackman, Martin Sharpe and many other well-known artists are represented.
Ms Patten said that many of the pieces formed part of the couple’s anti-censorship campaigns when they ran Australia’s national sex industry association.
She encouraged MPs from across the spectrum to buy a piece from the Museum’s collection. “There is a large and colourful oil painting by one of Australia’s foremost religious painters, Salvatore Zoffrea, that has the Prime Minister’s name all over it”, she said. “On the other side there is an untitled forest landscape said to have brightened the walls of former Treasurer Jim Cairns’ office before making its way into the Treasury building in Canberra in the early 1970s”.
A satirical portrait of Amanda Vanstone by Talking Pictures chief, Mike Bowers, and a knitted impression of Obama’s penis complete with Michelle’s hand, represent widely differing styles. One of Australia’s most complete early brothel collections and a rare 1800s Japanese erotic shunga scroll are also being offered.
Mr Swan said that Lawsons knocked back only one piece – a rare digital print of one of the first pieces of photoshopped political satire to appear on the internet in 1996 which featured Pauline Hanson, John Howard and Kim Beasley. It was titled ‘Distributing Preferences’ and was created by the notorious online satirist, Dr Irresponsible. “It’s still for sale if anyone is interested”, he said
The items can be viewed on Lawson’ site.