Daylong art event to revolve around ‘12 Inches of Sin’ show

For the fifth year, Sin City Gallery and owner/curator Laura Henkel are bringing the “12 Inches of Sin” show to Las Vegas and the 18b Arts District. This year, it promises to be bigger, longer and steamier, with a one-day special event, “Sin City Gallery presents Immersive,” planned from 1 p.m. to midnight April 9.

The exhibition will feature invited and guest artists and performance art in the gallery at The Arts Factory, 107 E. Charleston Blvd., but galleries at Art Square, 1025 S. First St., and The Union House, 917 S. First St., are also set to be open during the event.

Most galleries will be free, but admission to “Immersive,” including Sin City Gallery, Eden Arts Gallery and three stages and booths in the fenced parking area along The Arts Factory, will be by ticketed admission only.

“I want the experience to be like something I would see in San Francisco, New York, Paris or London,” said Henkel, who has a Ph.D. in erotic art and was the original curator of the Erotic Heritage Museum. “It’s going to be adult, have sophistication and be transgressive. It’s something that celebrates art and lifestyle.”

She prefers to avoid the term “erotic art,” which she feels most people equate with pornography. She chooses works that are sophisticated, humorous and transgressive to display at Sin City Gallery, and she wrote a manifesto redefining herself as a modern provocateur.

“Immersive” is set to include a gift bag for the first 1,000 attendees, live performances and some very adult demonstrations, including a demonstration of Shibari, artistic Japanese erotic rope bondage.

“Antwan Davis of Molodi is our entertainment curator,” Henkel said. “Among the things we’ll have is sort of our version of TED talks, with people talking in terms of investing in art.”

The gift bags are also set to include a map of downtown.

“Since it’s a full day, we’re encouraging people to spend the day here and take advantage and see what exists here,” Henkel said. “Check out the restaurants; check out the antique shops. I’m hoping some people who live nearby will bike over. It’s a chance to see the neighborhood.”

The show features 12 works no larger than 12 inches in any dimension. The annual international call for art seeks works that are intelligent, witty and provocative. The “12 Inches of Sin” show has become the foundation many of the galleries’ shows are built around. Many of the shows feature artists discovered during the competition and a Salon de Refuse featuring works that were good but didn’t make the final cut of 12 is one of the gallery’s most popular shows.

The 12 works are selected by 12 international judges. The grand-prize winner is picked from the 12 entries by a second set of 12 judges, and the prize includes a solo show and being featured on the cover of the annual “12 Inches of Sin” art book, which reproduces images of the 12 pieces in the show, works from the “Le Salon Des Refuses du Peche” and some of the other notable submissions.

Previous “12 Inches of Sin” art books are available at the gallery. The hardcover edition of the current book, “12 Inches of Sin Volume V,” will be available at the event but only for VIP ticket holders.

“It’s a very international event,” Henkel said. “We have people from San Francisco, L.A., Portland coming. We have artists and patrons from all over the country coming in. We have artists coming from Canada, Germany and the U.K. that are part of the book. Artists from 23 countries have participated in the show over the years.”

Because the competition is international, it’s impressive that a literal couple of local artists made the cut into the final 12. Both Nanda Sharifpour and her husband Ali Fathollahi have works in “12 Inches of Sin V.”

“My work is three, small 4-by-4 canvases with oil paintings showing different body parts of women in relationship with a pomegranate, which is a metaphor in my paintings,” Sharifpour said. “It’s kind of related to the concept of first sin.”

Fathollahi’s work is a mixed media piece designed to appeal not only to the visual senses but also to touch.

The couple may be local, but they are also international. The Iranian college art instructors came to the U.S. after a government official came to one of Fathollahi’s exhibits and began tearing his artwork off the walls and destroying it because it was too suggestive. Not long after, they were summoned to a meeting that they feared they would not return from and instead fled to Las Vegas.

“We just came back from a trip to Los Angeles and saw works on the same subject (as ‘12 Inches of Sin’),” Sharifpour said. “That is what’s happening in the art world, and I’m glad it’s happening in Las Vegas also.”

Work by photographer Raymond Elstad, who took Best In Show for “12 Inches of Sin IV,” is set to be on display in Sin City Gallery during the event. The show “12 Inches of Sin V” will be upstairs in the Eden Art Gallery during the event and will move into Sin City Gallery afterward. Invited guest artists will be on display both at Eden Art Gallery and outside in the parking lot.

General admission, which includes access to the art exhibitions and entertainment, is $20 and includes a “12 Inches of Sin Volume I” eBook. VIP Admission is $150 and includes a set of hardcover books, Volumes I-V, including a Special Edition Collector’s Item Volume V.

Visit sincitygallery.com or call 702- 608-2461.

To reach East Valley View reporter F. Andrew Taylor, email ataylor@viewnews.com or call 702-380-4532.

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