Bawdy Heat

You're a cultured individual. You read high-art fiction like Wizard of the Crow by Ngûgî Wa Thiong’o, listen to the odd out-of-print Milford Graves jazz record and to Daniel Johnston’s lo-fi masterpiece Hi, How Are You?, and support the visual arts. But does art featuring smoking-hot naked chicks engaging in self-inflicted bodily injury count?

It's a tough call when you're talking about the works of Genevive Zacconi, which are featured in her "Hardcore Scorn: Artwork by Genevive Zacconi" exhibit. Though beautifully -- and artfully -- rendered, they exude a kitschy eroticism that's more porn star than pre-Raphaelite. Perhaps that's because Zacconi's a former stripper (aha!) who's also trained in classical oil painting, an unlikely combination that imbues her surrealistic pop art with dark, edgy humor. One example is Birth of Venus, in which tarot-card imagery competes with a still-life tableau of stilettos and prescription drugs.

The Philadelphia native, who runs a branch of Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School, contributes to Juxtapoz and FHM, and was recently featured in an MSNBC article about erotic art, has built an impressive gallery career with her lowbrow depictions, which seem to aim for the stars but more often flirt with the gutter.

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Niamh Wallace