Just in time for Valentine’s day, erotic art show pops up in Minneapolis

The two day pop-up show takes a regular gallery and turns it into an open conversation surrounding art, sex and sexuality.

Angel Hawari evaluates the placement of a painting during setup for Safeword: An Erotic Art Show at the A-Mill Underground Museum on Saturday, Feb. 8.

Andy Kosier

Angel Hawari evaluates the placement of a painting during setup for Safeword: An Erotic Art Show at the A-Mill Underground Museum on Saturday, Feb. 8.

by Alex Strangman

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and if you’re still not sure where to take bae, Otherworldly Arts has you covered with an event that’s the perfect mix of sex and art.

This upcoming weekend, a diverse group of artists will share their own takes on art and eroticism at “Safeword: An Erotic Art Show.”

The two-day pop-up event at the A-Mill underground museum will feature over 80 artists, with works ranging from photographs to wood-block prints.

There will also be performance art on display, including an appearance from “The Feminist Strip Club,” a BDSM demonstration by Bondesque and a Shibari installation.

As if that’s not enough, the art show will also have an erotic art market, phallic-themed chocolates and “pussycakes” cupcakes by FoxCakes (on Feb. 14 only) and “love potions” from Twin Spirits Distillery.

Danielle Pebbles, creator of The Otherworldly Arts Collective, said she wants to create a safe space for artists to show off their erotic works.

“I never realized there was such a strong artistic voice when it comes to sex, sexuality and eroticism that just exists here in Minneapolis. There’s artists I’ve known for many years … they’ve got hundreds and hundreds of amazing erotic art works that they’ve never had a place to go with,” she said.

Pebbles said “Safeword” had the highest number of artists from out of state and outside of the country contact her about being in the show. There were over 200 submissions.

However, putting together an erotic art space isn’t easy, and Pebbles said she encountered many challenges trying to set up the show. The event’s social media pages constantly got flagged and taken down, which resulted in Pebbles being thrown in “Facebook jail,” and many art spaces refusing to host the erotic event.

Regardless of the challenges faced during setup, Pebbles is optimistic. She specifically chose Valentine’s weekend because she thought it would be the one time of the year where sex isn’t so nerve wracking for people. 

She also hopes the event serves as a sort of educational experience for attendees, giving them an opportunity to learn more about sexuality, sex work and erotic art as a whole.

Artist Dovanna Cleary says that art shows like “Safeword” are very important because they bring topics like sex and sexuality to the forefront, making them less of a taboo.

“The more [sex] is out in the general public, the more it’s normalized … the more it’s not scary. The more it’s not wrong. It shouldn’t be scary. It should be fun,” Cleary said.

For artist Rob McBroom, “Safeword” will hopefully also curate a sense of community among attendees. 

“If people come in and they are squeamish about it, or if they’re dealing with things on their own, they can go and see that they’re not alone,” he said.

By showcasing a wide array of erotic art, “Safeword” will capture the physical side of love this Valentine’s day weekend. 

What: “Safeword: An Erotic Art Show”

When: 7 p.m. – midnight February 14th and 15th

Where: A-Mill Underground Museum, 315 SE Main Street, Minneapolis

Cost: $20 

Ages: 21+