“The interesting thing about a penis in Greek art is not that some of them are small,” says Andrew Lear, a classics professor and art history tour guide, “but that they are all on the small side.”
It turns out, size did matter to the ancient Greeks, and smaller was better.
Andrew Lear takes Kurt Andersen on a tour through the Metropolitan Museum of Art to check out penises in ancient art — from the normal size to the teensy — to find out what size had to do with ancient notions of masculinity.
“It’s all symbolic,” Lear says.
Coincidentally, just downtown from the Met is another symbolic artistic look at masculinity. On view at the New Museum is “Sarah Lucas: Au Naturel” — a massive retrospective on the British artist whose work has always played with sexual references, bawdy humor, and, well ...
“Oh, there are many, many penises in this show,” says Margot Norton, one of the curators of the exhibit.
Sarah Lucas/Courtesy of Sadie Coles HQ, London
In Sarah Lucas’ art world, it’s men who are on display. Actually, not so much men, but depictions of manhood, abstract and otherwise — a cucumber stuck into a mattress here, a couple of crumpled beer cans there, as well as two remarkable and monumental sculptures on the museum’s top floor. It’s a different and very contemporary take on masculinity.
The New Museum exhibition “Sarah Lucas: Au Naturel” is on view through January 20, 2019.
Check out the article from Artsy that first piqued our interest in this story.