There is no subject that is iherently excluded from being depicted in art.
but what about the way it is depicted?
I believ that porn can be done with great artistry. Robert Marplethorpe certainly, in my opinion, was able to do so. Of course there will be those that will not consider any of his work porn and some others which will consider it not to show artistry. There will also be people that will become extremely upset with viewing such work..so upset that it might as well have a swaztika in it.
Personally I believe that what we call "porn" stimulates one area of your brain that has to do with physical sexual arousal, while what we may call "art" stimulates a part of the brain that has to do with mental arousal.
A healthy mixture of both in moderation makes the world go round.
Sometimes you feel like a nut and sometimes you don't.
It's all good.
"The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" astonished me by being at once, stupidly scary, and incredibly well and beautifully photographed. It's shot in a rich black and white that contributes immeasurably to it's ability to shock , but also to its' aesthetic value. High art and base content...go figure...
So, can pornography, whatever it is, be artistic as well as erotic? I'm sure it can. It's just that I've yet to see pornography where anyone bothered to even try.
One other work it makes me think of, at least partly, is the Alan Moore/Eddie Campbell graphic novel "From Hell." It's not my favorite work, but there are a few instances of explicit sex in it that are properly woven into the story.
Perhaps there was a medium-specific argument in what JCM was doing: in a literary fiction, when the characters have sex, it's real sex within this fictional world. Cinema however has the particular feature of being able to break through pure make-believe and go into the actual world. I don't want to bring the whole photo-is-real-is-not-shut-up-no-you-shut-up bickering, but suffice it to say that the way we make movies (or photo), we can represent actually happening acts, and that's where it's unsettling and powerful. (Of course there is also simulation in cinema, but everyone already knew that...)
Before we can have "Artistic XXX" we must decide what "Artistic" means... (after all, if I asked you to make motor-oil jello, you'd need to know what motor oil and jello are... before you might combine them)
Thus - I must declare this endeavor null and void, for we all know we cannot possibly decide what Art is..
OTOH - this subject makes me think of this site:
NOTE - EXPLICIT CONTENT - moderate yourself! ('cause we soooo don't want to hear you rant)
I find some wars, particularly a current one, pornographic (i.e. in its actual definition obscene) and, for example, much of Mapplethorpe's work, rampant or otherwise quite beautiful.
Damn, might as well get slaughtered here, I even find some of J-PW's work artistic. Now where did that thread go?
It's about personal definition of words and for me pornography means obscene and, er, artistic doesn't. That's not to mean that I like everything artistic, there's a lot of crap about. Just my humble opinion.....