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Sex, Art Unite in Paris Museum

February 5, 1998

PARIS (AP) _ The red-light Pigalle district in northern Paris now has a new showcase for eroticism _ an art museum.

Called simply the Musee d’Art Erotique, the former nightclub is on the Boulevard de Clichy, long known for the Moulin Rouge, sex shops and other nocturnal activities.

The museum features both art of several ancient cultures and contemporary works _ including 21 paintings, sculptures and etchings by Englishman David Russell.

The people in his paintings might be doing indelicate things, but they look so serene, with mythological references and delicate colors that could be shown in any salon.

``It’s wonderful to have such a showplace,″ says Russell, 70, who has also published a book of erotic drawings and text ``Sophie’s Dream Book″ and an extraordinary pop-up erotic art book, ``The Secret Carnival.″

Special, too, are the dazzling pencil drawings of 32-year-old Davor Vrankic of Croatia.

Totally different from Russell’s works, the exuberantly black and white compositions on paper show hundreds of beautifully-executed details, giving an impression of both high relief and sensuality.

The drawings offer new takes on Tarzan and Jane, Pinocchio and Mickey Mouse.

``Like David Russell, I started out differently, in geometric, abstract art, Mondrian-style, at the Beaux-Arts school in Zagreb,″ Vrankic says. ``But I came around to more complex ideas.″

Vrankic devotes his life to his art. ``No hobbies. It takes about one to two months to complete these drawings after the initial sketches,″ he says.

Other works in the museum range from attractive to repulsive _ but they are always interesting and often witty.

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