Saints

The two very different sides

I met Naomi Wilzig, the grandmotherly proprietor, who gave me the dime tour and pointed out examples of religious erotica. It was evident that Miss Naomi, as she is called by most, has some kinks to iron out.

As I wended my way through the cavernous 12,000-square-foot former office space that seemed like a rabbit's warren, many of the 4000 objects in the collection appeared cluttered together and were often unidentified, which makes placing the pieces in a historical context a daunting task.

Another mistake was painting the pocked-cardboard drop ceiling black, because it interferes with the lighting, a problem magnified by the drab, dark gray institutional carpeting.

Horacio Valdez's Death Cart/Carreta de 
Muerte
Horacio Valdez's Death Cart/Carreta de Muerte

Details

Through December 4; 305-348-2890. Open Monday through Friday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday noon to 4:00 p.m.
Frost Art Museum at Florida International University, University Park Campus, 11200 SW 8th St, Bldg PC 110, Miami.

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What irked most was the squad of knuckle-dragging bouncers moonlighting as security that shadowed one's every step and the heinous shoplifting sensors placed near some sculptures. When I approached the rocking penis prop from Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange, sirens went off and the black-clad buzzards surrounded me. I had to remind myself this was the sort of establishment best appreciated after an "attitude adjustment" at Wet Willie's, so I smiled at the cretins and moved on.

One thing impressed me: Miss Naomi will never suffer from tally-whacker envy. The pesky peckers were everywhere, and a cornucopia of cooters too. She also pointed out some of her prized clergy-inspired erotica. An Italian etching dating from the 1800s features a duet of Franciscan monks forming a cheerleaderlike pyramid. The prelates hold a pair of hussies aloft while humming prayers into their crotches. Below, a dexterous damsel masturbates the pious pranksters.

A French etching from the same period shows two nuns exchanging glances. They lie in bed with their arms around each other, basking in a candle's glow. A crucifix appears on a wall behind them. They smile serenely.

One saint I saw at "The Saint Makers" show who makes an encore appearance here is Joan of Arc, the maid of Orleans getting the royal Rodney Dangerfield treatment. Saint Joan is bound to the bars of the Bastille and then tortured and molested by a faithless rabble.

A surprising example of contemporary South American church-flogging can be found in a piece of hidden erotica. A delicate clay rooster figurine opens up to reveal a priest seducing a nun.

The museum collection features numerous Saint Peter statues as well, with the first pope grinning on one side of the popular knickknacks and a tumescent Johnson on the reverse.

From Japanese shungo paintings depicting geishas servicing themselves with cucumbers, to giant labia-crested African masks worn during ritual female circumcision, to elegant Chinese jade dildos, to ancient depictions of erotic impulses crafted in every conceivable manner, Miss Naomi's cabinet of curiosities is an eye-scorcher.

As luck would have it, as I was leaving, I stumbled across a couple of items that juked me out of my skivvies. One was a pink-capped can of Renuzit fragrance spray — fresh cut flower scent — featuring on its label a flaccid pecker lolling among orchids. If it weren't for the dopey guard on my jock, I would have freshened the air in a heartbeat. My favorite, though, was an old copy of a Tijuana Bible penned by U. Groan and I. Grunt. Hallelujah!

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