The other Cookie of Proust
Back in 2015 when I initiated the first Erotica auction together with my Catawiki colleague Job Kwakman, I did not know that it would one day lead up to this: Amuse, the first auction, community & store platform entirely dedicated to erotic collectors items.
Gladly I volunteered to guide the auction on my own when it became a weekly event because I thought myself an expert on the matter. After all I already owned a nice bibliographical reference library about erotic books and arts. But soon I found out that the Erotica collectors world was much bigger than I knew and I realized that the collectors themselves actually were the real experts. I have learned a lot from them over the years that followed (so I take the liberty to call myself an expert in Erotica with some more confidence now). Many crazy items came through my ‘digital hands’, some even gained worldwide press attention, like when we sold an (at least one hundred years) old condom.
However, I was most impressed by the artworks that came from both highly professional artists as well as from unknown talents, the art brut or ‘outsider art’ world. Last spring 51 years ago, in May 1968 the first international exhibition of Erotic Art was held in the Museum of Art ‘Lund’s Konsthall in Sweden (you might find the catalogue of it one day on our auction). The event was organised by Dr. Phyllis and Eberhard Kronhausen, a husband-and-wife team of American sexologists, who declared:
“It is our firm belief that erotic art (as well as erotic literature) has an important social and therapeutic function. […] By trying to suppress erotic art, society not only deprives itself of a possible source of progress and insight, it also hinders the manufacture of art by setting limits on the artist’s imagination, and puts an important communication medium out of use. Finally, erotic art expresses the desire for sexual freedom, a freedom that is essential for human happiness and mental health.”
They were right.
There is great beauty to be found in erotic art, curio objects and also in pornography, for who has the eyes to see. And if not recognizable for its own grace at once, the latter at least has the power, like a naughty kind of Proust’s madeleine, to bring forth nostalgia, bringing one back in the days of youth when first encountered with the secret world of sex in shady magazines and booklets that circulated in the schoolyard.
This is why Amuse will offer you on this platform the products of imagination that cover almost the whole range of human sexuality from old antique curiosities and soft erotica artworks to hard porn magazines and extravagant fetish fashion for all people, including the LGTB community. And we have more plans! The popularity of Netflix series like Sex Education proof that people will always strife for their own freedom. We believe in that freedom, we believe that our world needs less War and more Love but most of all, just like you, we just truly love Erotica.
Marco van Kampen
Expert Erotica at Amuse
Collector of bibliographical reference works and Erotica (in a broad sense). Twenty years experience as an antiquarian bookseller and fine art dealer, including five years with Catawiki, hosting the Erotica auction.