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Atlanta Contemporary Art Center has a strong Sex Drive

(Felicia Feaster, Creative Loafing Atlanta) A variation on an exhibit that Atlanta Contemporary Art Center curator Stuart Horodner debuted at Pennsylvania’s Haverford College earlier this year, Sex Drive‘s Atlanta permutation mixes a different configuration of local artists and international names, including Leon Golub, Mira Schor and Tracey Emin.

As you would expect from a show about a concept highly dependent upon personal taste and fancy, Sex Drive is a mixed bag. There are plenty of titillating works that skim the surface, but also some incisive art that raises questions about how something as essential as sex can be so alternately divisive, boring and mystifying.

It is hard to get beyond the surface shock value of works like Steve Gianakos’ irony-sodden painting “Schlong,” which contaminates a story book-style image with an adult sense of knowingness. More successful — and revealing — is Vertna Bradley’s video piece “Scandalous.” Bradley perp walks an endless loop of high-profile scandals across the TV screen, from Clinton’s humble-pie-eating to pretty, dead-eyed teachers confessing to sex with their teenage students. The droning litany of public vice gleefully masticated by TV news talking heads is deeply revealing for showing the gloss of finger-pointing judgment and condemnation we like served up with our gossipy sex scandals.