The Finest Vaginas That The Art World Has Ever Conceived

The Finest Vaginas That The Art World Has Ever Conceived

By: Eduardo Limón -

Although phallic figures seem to dominate the collective imagination of the western society, it is undeniable that the vagina has also been a source obsession since ancient times. Since it is an organ capable of holding and creating life, it has been regarded as a symbol of fertility and supernatural mystery.

vagina contemporary art vezere

For example, this vulvar representation from Vézère, France, is one of the earliest studies of the earthly nature of femininity and its enigmas. Every century has its own pictorial representations of the vagina, reflecting how its conception has evolved with time. For example, the Paleolithic Venus of Hohle Fels doesn't hold the same meaning as the Greek representations of Aphrodite, the same way the Renaissance's conception of bodies, da Vinci's anatomical treatises differ greatly from Courbet's erotic realism, Schiele's and Klimt's erotic water paintings, and Duchamp's Female Fig Leaf.

vagina contemporary art klimt schiele

The conception of female genitalia is transformed just like artists change techniques, colors, textures, shapes, forms, and materials in their art. Georgia O'Keefe gave us her flowery and almost-freudian interpretations, which paved the way for what we know today as feminist or vaginal waves.

vagina contemporary art Georgia Okeefe
I'm glad to say that the story is far from being over. Hoping to attain more visibility and equality, representations of the vagina have continued to change. That's why contemporary artists have created vaginas in almost infinite and unimaginable amounts of representations. The beauty and genius of their creators is worthy of great admiration.

Holy Vagina Jesus by 1960s artist Michael Hussar portrays femininity as a sacred element that forms part of the history of humanity. Also, it is a visual rebuke of male-centered religious discourses.

vagina contemporary art hussar

Another emblematic vagina in contemporary art is Dirty Corner by Anish Kapoor. This monumental structure's style can be described both as cornucopian and garish, which reminds us of Marie Antoinette's historical character.

vagina contemporary art kapoor

These embroidered vaginas by Laüra Hollick also propose many different perspectives and attempt to represent, link, and empower the human –and perhaps the non-human– vagina. 

vagina contemporary art hollick

Matriarch by Andrea Hasler can seem like a gross and fleshy tent at first sight, but isn't the womb also a shelter that contains and protects? This work is a sincere reflection upon maternal caregiving and mother-child bonds. Although her work may be visually challenging it intends to represent the vagina in its purest form.

vagina contemporary art martriarch

One of the advantages of contemporary art is that artists no longer need painting or other conventional materials to make aesthetic and meaningful artwork. For instance, we have The Paintbrush of Gustave Courbet by Peter de Cupere. The work is a paintbrush made of pubic hair and a bottle of colorless paint with the scent of vagina.

vagina contemporary art cupere paintbrush
vagina contemporary art cupere 2

The Fuck Paintings series by Betty Tompkins consists of quite bewildering close-up images of sexual intercourse. These images straw away from conventional ideas of how a vagina should be: stainless, aesthetic, and compliant.

vagina contemporary art tompkins

Mother of Pearl by Robin Walker places the vagina in front of the spectator, awakening all sorts of reactions: some may approach with curiosity, and others may avert their gaze, as they're not used to such a showy and direct exposure to a vagina. This piece is new way of opening up a discourse that is still a taboo for some people.

vagina contemporary art walker

Allyson Mitchell created this space called Hungry Purse, which gives the impression of the vagina as a sacred temple. All these colors accentuate a woman's inhabitability –the warmth and shelter they can provide– and dispel all those shadows of mysticism and enigmas surrounding the vagina. Instead of making allusions to earth's fertility, like in ancient times, it shows the vagina as cosmos by itself.

vagina contemporary art Mitchell

All these artworks speak out against the concealment of women's sexuality and the view of the vagina as a taboo. These pieces depict female sexuality as it really is: a part of every woman's nature. 


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Translated by Andrea Valle Gracia