For more than 20 years, the Individual Artists of Oklahoma gallery has done its best to titillate and educate Oklahoma City with the annual Biting the Apple exhibition, featuring erotic art from all over the state. Kendall Brown, executive director of IAO, believes this year’s incarnation will be the most successful — and provocative — yet.
“The interesting thing about Biting the Apple is that it allows so many different artists to give their interpretation as to what is erotic art,” Brown said. “You’ll have everything from things that people would expect, like artwork that includes nudity, to sculptural and wood pieces that have zero nudity in them, where it takes longer to really study on it and to figure out why this is provocative and what was this artist intending with it.”
Featuring work from returning favorites and many new artists, the two-night exhibition will feature free food from area restaurants, a cash bar and live performances from dancers and musicians.
But what people really come for, no pun intended, is the art.“It’s truly a show that people won’t have an opportunity to see anything like in Oklahoma for the entire rest of the year,” Brown said. “It’s truly a unique show. It’s not just an art exhibit; it’s an experience.”
Living in the buckle of the Bible Belt, one might assume an erotic art show would attract protesters, but Brown believes that Oklahomans are far more open-minded about sex than they’re given credit for being.
“It’s not as hard to have an exhibit like this as people would expect. I really don’t think that those of us who are a little bit more liberal are as outnumbered as we and others often think we really are,” she said. “While there may not be as many provocative artists working in Oklahoma, as there are in, say, New York City, we still have this incredible community of artists working in provocative techniques and provocative subject matter. Biting the Apple gives them a time ... to be seen, and to interact with the community.”
As diverse as sex itself, Friday and Saturday’s show features art from both hetero- and homosexual perspectives. In addition, Brown said some work will pertain to darker themes, in observance of April being Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
“People will be able to see all these different perspectives,” she said. “There are a lot of people, I think, that feel they don’t necessarily fit in the Oklahoma art scene, but Biting the Apple specifically makes them feel accepted and included.”