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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

.. Including the Museum of Sex




NEW YORK -- Among the 29 institutions receiving art from Peter and Eileen Norton is the nascent Museum of Sex in Manhattan, the first of its kind in the United States. Its president and chief executive, Daniel Gluck, an energetic, quick-talking 31-year-old former product manager for a software company, describes the museum, which does not yet have a home, as a center for the study of "the history and evolution of human sexuality.''


Its goal, Gluck added, is to become "the Smithsonian of sex.''


Three years ago, when Gluck came up with the idea for the museum as a nonprofit institution, he approached various foundations for support. But "even organizations like the Playboy Foundation were hesitant,'' he said. "We had trouble incorporating with the New York Board of Regents as a nonprofit [organization] because it said the term Museum of Sex made a mockery of the institution of the museum.''


So with the money he had made from his software company, he joined with several partners to acquire a site at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 27th Street and established the museum as a for-profit corporation.


Last year architects were commissioned to design the museum building. Their proposal calls for an undulating facade of various translucent layers.


The architects have written that the project is an "ambient blending of trajectories, space and form'' that "collects and redirects forces to provide a spatial solution that is open, gestural, revealing and sexy.''


Gluck said the building would not be completed until 2004. Meanwhile the museum is looking for temporary quarters for exhibition space, a cafe, a shop, what he calls a resource center for "sex studies'' and space for themuseum's collection of "sex-related art and objects.''


"People don't ne cessarily know what we mean by sex objects,'' he quickly added. "We're talking about anti-masturbation devices that were used by mental institutions in the Victorian era, and about the 'bundling board,' a Puritan-era bed that a couple would sleep in before marriage, which would prevent any sexual activity between them.''


Before the Nortons' donation the museum had no art. Knowing Norton's receptivity to unconventional dreams, Alison Maddex, the museum's director, contacted the Norton Foundation more than a year ago in search of money. Instead, Norton and his staff donated a package of art by Alexis Rockman, Peter Saul, Haim Steinbach and others.


"It's the first contribution of erotic art we've received,'' Gluck said. "Obviously it's an important step for us.''