One of the world's foremost collections of phallic art resides in a Manhattan apartment. But if you feel a little skittish about visiting yourself, not to worry: Narratively photographer Kyria Abrahams will take you on a tour.
In her essay for the relatively new longform site, Abrahams describes the apartment, which is owned by a 58-year-old man who wishes to remain anonymous, as "a cacophony of cocks. A deluge of dicks. A plethora of penii." If that's not evocative enough, the article includes photographic testimony of the penis-themed art.
The collection includes everything from animal penis bones to prints of works from Basquiat and Duchamp to self-modeled penile structures. Then there's the piece that is best summarized by the collector's own initial reaction to seeing it: "It was racist! It was child pornography! I had to have it!”
The collector is quick to point out that he is no freakish hoarder of "junk" — he curates each room in his apartment around a consistent theme and style.
The living room is done in earth tones, decorated with mostly tribal-style art. ... The bedroom is kitschier, outfitted in primary colors with well-endowed dolls like the anatomically correct “Billy,” as well as jingling scrotum Christmas ornaments. The bathroom is decorated in black, white and neutral tones, with some of the more explicit and X-rated pieces lining those walls.
In an entire house of penis art, one shudders to think what the "more explicit" section entails.
And sorry, feminists, but the collectors affinity for genitalia does not extend to the other sex: "If I collected vaginas, I’d collect vaginas ... Vaginas would just diffuse the impact. These are male rooms. This is the phallus palace." And though the collector has heard the accusations of sexism, he denies them. "I have nothing against women,” he adds. “They're my second-favorite sex.”
Either way, it's a good time to be a phallic connoisseur around the world. New York already has a Sex Museum, but this collection is much more limited in scope than that broad category. There's also the Icelandic Phallological Museum and its 283 biological specimens — a more scientific take on the male reproductive organ that has proved to be a hit with tourists.
So, have you been convinced that you need to visit yet? Not to worry, you probably couldn't get in anyway, as the owner of the penis-filled Upper West Side apartment wants to keep his art collection closed to outsiders. “I like that it’s private collection. It’s just for the people I choose,” the anonymous collector says. “I can't help it. I'm an elitist.”
And who exactly is this character? We don't know his full identity, but there are some tidbits. He's 58 and comes from a Japanese family. He has lived on the Upper West Side for almost 25 years. He is gay and recently ended a relationship with someone thirty years younger; he is friends with writer Deirdre Sinnott.
Whether or not you are (un)fortunate enough to explore the room in person, Digg's pithy description of the story is probably its best explainer:
One man's boner for penises: http://t.co/rVRLz03cE1— Digg (@digg) August 12, 2013
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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