Madonna and Saint Laurent Bring “Sex” to Art Basel

To celebrate the groundbreaking book’s 30th anniversary, the French label is mounting an historic exhibition of never-before-seen archival prints on the shores of Miami Beach.

Photography by Steven Meisel, courtesy of Saint Laurent Rive Droite

Saint Laurent is bringing Sex to the beaches of Miami like never before with an exhibition curated by Madonna and Anthony Vaccarello, celebrating the groundbreaking book’s 30th anniversary and re-edition. Premiering Tuesday, Nov. 29 during Miami Art Week, the beachfront gallery will feature large-format prints from the trailblazing tome along with never-before-seen images pulled from the archive going on display for the first time.

With photographs by Steven Meisel punctuated with words penned by Madonna herself, Sex featured the iconoclastic singer along with the famous and infamous of the time, including Naomi Campbell, Isabella Rossellini, Big Daddy Kane, and Vanilla Ice. Upon its release in 1992, when it sold more than 150,000 copies on the first day, Madonna shattered the boundaries of pop stardom and the expectations that came with it. She was known for scandalizing audiences with her every move, and the in-your-face sex-positivity of both Sex and Erotica, the polarizing album that accompanied it, was met with instant controversy around the world—more so than any of her work preceding it. 

Photography by Steven Meisel, courtesy of Saint Laurent Rive Droite

The Art Basel premiere is something of a homecoming for the book—it was originally shot between Miami and New York. (One of its most iconic portraits depicts a fully nude Madonna hitchhiking along a palm tree–lined Miami street.) The prints will debut in a temporary gallery on Miami Beach built specifically for the historic moment. This not only gives viewers a chance to reappraise the long-out-of-print photographs and unseen images with a modern perspective, but introduces an entirely new generation to an integral era of the pop icon’s illustrious career, which paved the way for pretty much all of today’s most successful artists.

The Saint Laurent reissue, published by Callaway, New York, is being printed in a limited run of only 800 units created especially for Saint Laurent Rive Droite, with a handful signed by Madonna to be auctioned in the coming months. Proceeds will benefit her Raising Malawi charity, and exclusive merch, including T-shirts and tote bags, will be available for purchase.

Photography by Steven Meisel, courtesy of Saint Laurent Rive Droite

Located at the corner of Ocean Drive and 17th Street on Miami Beach, the Saint Laurent beachfront gallery is open and free to anyone over the age of 18 from Nov. 29–Dec. 4.

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