S3X Gallery says that it's San Francisco's first gallery dedicated to displaying only erotic art. While certain other venues in town might have something to say about that (Hello, Femina Potens. How you doing, Mark I. Chester Studio?), if the gallery's opening lineup and plans for the future are any indication, it's a welcome addition to a pretty small group.
The exhibit "s3xplorations" opens Friday night (Feb. 10), and in it is David Steinberg. About a decade ago, responding to claims that there is no "real" sex in pornography, the photographer and longtime writer began shooting couples who have established sexual relationships. His initial work, mostly black-and-white, captured stunning (and not exclusively explicit) emotional interaction among opposite- as well as same-sex couples, vanilla as well as kinky. He later photographed transgender women and people with disabilities; some of that work is shown Friday.
David Hinnebusch of Venice Beach stands in stark contrast to Steinberg. His garishly colored paintings resemble de Kooning's Woman series, pushing the figurative rather than Steinberg's literal.
Also exhibiting are Mark O'Bryan (who is local), Thorsten Jankowski (a German), and Mollie Kellog (also from Southern California).
Live entertainment includes a burlesque act by the Hot Toddies Flaming Cabaret, a female magician, erotic poetry, and screening of vintage erotic films. The gallery's website says it intends to have erotica-themed events every Friday and Saturday, and that it also plans classes and workshops in sexuality. The gallery is housed in what once was a Tenderloin X-rated moviehouse -- the marquee still says "Art Theater" -- and that probably is a first for San Francisco.
The opening reception for "s3xplorations" starts at 8 p.m. at S3X Gallery, 55 Taylor (at Turk), S.F. Admission is $35-$50.