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Art Exhibit Challenges Ideas Of Eroticism


12 Inches of Sin
Bill Pacak

Los Angeles artist Bill Pacak is one of the featured artists in the "12 Inches of Sin" art exhibit downtown.

For the fourth year, the "12 Inches of Sin" art exhibition challenges perceptions of art and eroticism in art through a display of photographs, paintings and sculptures.

The juried art exhibition at the Sin City Gallery features artwork from artists from all over the world, including some local artists as well.

Laura Henkel is the curator of the gallery. The idea for the exhibit came about because it is a small space and she wanted pieces that were only 12 inches square or less.

This year, she received 300 submissions from 20 countries. A group of judges from around the world picked the works making up the exhibit.

While it is not uncommon to see highly sexualized images in certain parts of Las Vegas, Henkel points out that this work is different.

“I think for this particular exhibition it is in a gallery setting and so it’s a very high caliber of art," she told KNPR's State of Nevada. "Even though it is erotic it’s really about being more intellectual and it’s about the craft."

Henkel shies away from calling the works in the gallery ‘erotic.’ She prefers to call them contemporary art that is provocative.

Brent Holmes is a local artist with a piece of work in the show. He is also a graphic designer for Desert Companion magazine, which is published by Nevada Public Radio.

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Holmes’ work featured in the exhibit is a photograph of a women in a motel room whose face is covered by a latex mask.

Holmes said the work is meant to evoke the viewer’s own sense of identity.

 “I want them to come away with questions about their own identity and their own ideas about sexuality -- not just about sexuality but about human identity,” he said.

Both Holmes and Henkel agree there is a huge pool of artistic talent in Las Vegas, but often those artists are not supported by the community.

“What I’ve noticed with my gallery is that a lot of my buyers are not from Las Vegas," she said. "They’re people visiting. There are very few people who support the arts on a local level."


Laura Henkel, curator; Brent Holmes, artist

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