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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Arts Brief - Erotic Heritage Museum Murals Garnering National Attention

The flap over the appropriateness of a mural exhibition at the Erotic Heritage Museum has reached national attention with a recently published blog in the New York Time Arts Beat section.


The situation happened a few weeks ago when inspectors from Clark County Code enforcement sited the non-profit museum for violations regarding the display of the "areola" of the female breast. Though further research into the matter points to the counties heightened awareness of the DeJa Vu Nightclub recent stunt of having mobile stripper polls going up and down the Las Vegas Strip. The museum is housed in a building that belongs to Harry Mahoney the proprietor of DeJa Vu Showgirls. The museum and DeJa Vu are located approxinetly 100 feet from each other.

Whether you agree with the museums mission (sex education through the arts) or not the fact that the county is even attempting to censor art is quite questionable and brings up a whole series of First Amendment arguments. All around the United States and the world for that matter there is art work depicting the female and male genitalia; the most famous one that comes to mind is of course the Statue of David by Michelangelo. Not to mention the hundreds if not thousands of bare breasted statues of Lady Justice in front of court houses all over the United States.

In either case the museum and the county are poised for what could become quite an ACLU battle in the near future. Also the artists who created the murals could make a very strong case against the county. At a time when Las Vegas is promoting itself as a Cultural Tourist destination, especially with the recent opening of City Center, this current flap between the county and a museums art exhibition makes you wonder if Las Vegas has truly come of age?

The battle between the Erotic Heritage Museum, the artists and Clark County Nevada is far from over so stay tuned...

posted by Brian Paco Alvarez, Curator and Chronicler of Culture at


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