According to the ever-reliable parody news site The Onion, the new Robert Mapplethorpe Children’s Museum opened in Queens yesterday, offering a whopping 200,000 square feet of interactive exhibits — and a few photographs, for good measure — in a converted warehouse where Mapplethorpe allegedly shot several pieces for the controversial 1978 “X Portfolio,” which was sharply criticized by conservative groups when it was included in the 1989 touring exhibition “The Perfect Moment,” which was partly funded by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). In an ironic twist, the Onion reports that the Mapplethorpe Children’s Museum’s most popular attraction is the “Coprophagia Activity Center,” a $40 million exhibit entirely funded by an NEA grant “in which patrons travel down tunnels of spread-eagle nude figures, create virtual representations of fecal matter on interactive touch screens, and ride a fireman’s pole into a mouth-shaped ball pit.”
“Our live stage recreations of classic Mapplethorpe pieces are sure to appeal to teens and adults, while younger kids just love our two-story vulva slide,” Eileen Greco, the fictional head curator of the fictional museum, told the Onion. “This museum is a celebration of everything Robert loved — from muscular male thighs to nylon cords wrapped tightly around one’s own scrotum — and our interactive exhibits make it fun for even the youngest child to explore and enjoy these themes.”
Other features of the museum, the Onion reveals, include lickable silicon displays, a climable phallus 20 feet tall, “a working BDSM dungeon,” a silk-screening studio where visitors can print images of male and female genitalia, and a mascot named “Leather Daddy.” By Memorial Day, the museum plans to turn on an outdoor fountain “in the shape of a shirtless man in a bondage hood and skintight leather pants who will urinate a constant stream of water that children can cool off and splash around in,” according to the Onion.
Following a field trip to the new institution, made-up third-grade teacher Lynette Fuller observed: “The great thing is that these kids are receiving an education about art and photographic composition, but they’re just having so much fun putting each other in wrist and ankle restraints or inserting their forearms up a replica human anus that they don’t even realize they’re learning.”
— Benjamin Sutton
(Image via The Onion.)