All images by Mack Lamoureux.

How to Decorate for an Orgy

An art tour of a sex club.

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May 17 2018, 3:17pm

All images by Mack Lamoureux.

I heard from a friend who likes to fornicate in public that there’s an art collection at Toronto’s “water themed adult’s playground,” Oasis Aqualounge. Scheduled between events like Bukkake Night In and Dungeon Etiquette 101, they offer life drawing classes (their “muses cum in a beautiful range of shapes and sizes”).

Oasis Aqualounge is a well-respected community space known for inclusivity and focus on female/trans folk safety. They clearly do sex well, but I wanted to find out what their art looked like. Would it be suggestive O’Keeffe-style bursting flowers or more straight-up drawings of Ps in Vs? Turns out that it’s the latter, and they feature one artist drawing the world’s most ridiculously proportioned women this side of a Barbie doll.

My tour of the sex club’s art collection was super friendly, and every naked person politely moved off the wipe-downable furniture so we could take photos of the work. Granted, it was a slow day, but the most scandalous sights were in the picture frames. Some of these images shocked me more than anything I’ve seen in a gallery (and people, like, roll around naked in blood in galleries all the time). So I showed the collection to art consultant Devan Patel of Project Gallery to get an expert perspective on my reaction.

He suggested that the obvious pairing of sexual images in a sexual space limits the ways you can interpret the work. “It comes across as vulgar or ‘getting down to brass tacks’ because even a simple portrait of a nude becomes hypersexualized in this context. There are artists that maybe create similar images, but it’s within a context of a broader dialogue,” he told me. Basically, in a gallery, someone rolling around naked in blood could be about the government or childhood memories or oppressive violence—but in a sex club, this work is purely sex for sex.

I wanted to learn more about Oasis’s art collection, so I called up their curator Grace E. Love. We discussed why people buy art after sex and how you can get your art on the walls. She also gave her expert advice on decorating for a gangbang, which is the biggest day of the month at Oasis and an opportunity for art sales. Usually selling art takes a lot of schmoozing and building of long-term relationships, but maybe gallerists would have an easier time if they offered “a night dedicated to women who enjoy the company of multiple men.” Something to consider!

VICE: Hi Grace! Why is art such an important element of Oasis Aqualounge?
Grace E. Love: Our community has many artists and it often comes up that people draw or paint or do performance art. We’re a very inclusive space, so we want them to have a little sparkle within the club and show their work. It’s exciting for them to see their art hanging up there, and when it sells, it’s even more exciting. At the same time, the art works as a souvenir system for those that visit the club. They want to take something home with them, a little memento from here.

Yeah, I was thinking that when I visited the club. If you have a magical moment in the dungeon, you could literally take a piece of the club home with you.
It’s not so much the piece is from here, but what it means to them. It’s about the night they were there—maybe they met someone important right beside that artwork.

I was also thinking that art could be a good entry point for awkward people. They could be like, “Hey, whaddya think of that painting…”
Yeah, that happens all the time. There’s a painting in the red bar of a female-presenting person that’s chewing cherries. It’s a popular starter piece for conversations. People are like, ‘The colour matches the room—everything is red up here!’ That sort of thing.

That’s a standard way to hit on people in art galleries too. But I guess you’re more down if you’re already in a sex club.
For me, no matter where I am, it’s important that someone shows an interest in art, because I have an art background. When someone says something like that, it shows they have a different level to them and I want to know more about them.

So, I have to be honest with you, I’m surprised by the heavy focus on unrealistic female bodies in these works—very small waists with cartoonishly big boobs and butts. It doesn’t seem to vibe with Oasis’s mission statement.
Interesting—no one has ever said that. Right now I’m working with an artist that’s making work catered towards foot fetishes. She’s going to paint feet in shoes, or feet playing with genitals, that type of thing.

I know I’m a giant prude, but when I was looking at the art, I felt embarrassed by some of the images. Those spread eagle paintings...they shook me, Grace. Are there any images in the club that shock you?
No, no. I’ve been in the art world for a long time and I’ve done a lot of performance art where I’ve been fully naked. I’ve grown to appreciate the body and its lines. Another part of my job is coordinating the spectator sex event; it’s for couples who want to perform in front of others. I usually book five couples and the other day there was such a sweet couple performing. I’m watching and say to my friend, ‘Look at those lines in her body, it’s so beautiful, look at her back.’ I look at the body with the eye of an artist. Yes, it’s sexy, but there’s also an energy that comes through which is pretty prominent within the lifestyle, and the community that is part of Oasis. I’m appreciative of the energy.

When would be a good time to see the art?
Gangbang night is always busy and always creative. It’s a safe space for women to experience multiple men. The promo team organizes games.

What do you mean games—duck, duck, goose?
Mainly ice breakers. Banana-eating games and naked Twister.

Do you have any recommendations for art or interior design types for people hosting their own gangbangs? How do you get that Oasis Aqualounge vibe at home?
Beautiful art on the wall is a must—something you appreciate and love and it inspires you when you look at it. Candles and different levels of lighting. People have this idea that sex clubs are very dark and you can’t see anything, but having different levels is sexy. You shouldn’t have bright lights like it’s a lab or something. No one likes that. I’d recommend a nice paint colour on the walls—an eggplant purple or grey. In your house, you can include leathers that you like and plush carpets. We have to be careful of those materials in the sex club. The plush things are harder to keep clean, of course.


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