12 Inches of Sin

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Template:UDP Template:Infobox recurring event 12 Inches of Sin is an annual international juried exhibition of erotic art in Las Vegas. Founded in 2010, it explores human identity, sexuality, gender and expression. Accepted works include paintings, photographs, digital art, sculpture, illustration, mixed media and short films, but each work must not be larger than 12 inches in any direction (or one foot square). An expert jury of 12 judges chooses 36 artists among 300 submissions. Artists from 23 countries had participated by 2015.


12 Inches of Sin was founded in 2010 by the sexologist and gallerist Laura Henkel in her Sin City Gallery, which was then located in the Arts Factory complex, a warehouse converted into various studios and galleries. Her goal was to provide opportunities for learning through the visual arts. 12 Inches of Sin was conceived to move beyond the idea of produced sexuality and offer an alternative, inclusive and meaningfully personalized view of human identity, sexuality, gender and expression.[1][2][3]

With its call for entries judged by a panel of international experts of the field,[4][5] the show brought artists from all over the world into the Las Vegas Arts District,[6] beginning with 40 submissions of art from 5 countries in its first year and growing to 300 submissions from 23 countries in its sixth year. As art submissions grew, exhibition categories were created to support traditional and new media artists. They have been curated by Henkel.[7][8]

In 2016, the event expanded with Immersive, a multi-media art event for 21 and older, featuring international performance artists known for their erotic and provocative work, as well as demonstrations such as shibari. Sin City Gallery was listed among the Best 25 Art Galleries in America by the American Art Awards and was awarded the prize of Best Gallery in Nevada.[9][10][11]

The juried exhibition

All work submitted must follow a strict rule of being no larger than 12 inches in any direction, for a total of one foot square. Thematically, the work of art must explore eroticism and sensuality.[12] Works by artists new and established around the world are selected for being "sophisticated, intelligent, witty and provocative."[8][13]

The juried art exhibition includes three categories:

12 Inches of Sin exhibition embraces painting, collage, sculpture, drawings and mixed media made by hand. A panel of twelve judges invites 12 artists to exhibit, as well as name the Best in Show awardee, who is featured in an exclusive exhibition curated by Sin City Gallery.[14][15][3]

Obscura embraces photography, digital, video and all new technologies. A panel of twelve judges invites 12 artists to exhibit, as well as name the Best in Show awardee, who is featured in an exclusive exhibition curated by Sin City Gallery.[4]

Le Salon des Refusés du Péché provides a curated selection of meritorious works from the art submissions. It embraces all mediums and includes exhibits of 12 Inches of Sin and Obscura invited artists.[16][13]

The annual call for art is June through August. A minimum of three art submissions is required. The exhibition and festivities surrounding the exhibition occur in the summer.[13] A portion of proceeds from the event are donated to the charitable organization Sin Sity Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.[17] The exhibition is open to visitors over 21 years of age.[8][3]

Books and documentary

In 2015, Henkel started a Kickstarter campaign, raising funds for the publication of a coffee table book series featuring various works of the show in a multi-volume set entitled 12 Inches of Sin: So Much Art You Can Barely Fit It All In. A volume has been created for each year, with the Best in Show winner on the cover. The book series contains the Modern Provocateur Manifesto, co-written with Rosa JH Berland, an art historian, to offer an alternative, inclusive and meaningfully personalized view of human identity, sexuality, gender and expression.[18][19]

Eric Minh Swenson, a Los Angeles-based filmmaker and documentarian, filmed a documentary on 12 Inches of Sin V (2016).[20]


The following are the Best in Show winners:[16][13][21]

Year Work Artist Country Category
I Mountain Climber Allan Teger United States 12 Inches of Sin
II Oceana Jeff Wack United States 12 Inches of Sin
III Double Cross JP Rakehorn United Kingdom 12 Inches of Sin
IV Box Grid Raymond Elstad United States 12 Inches of Sin
V Spoiled Ram Kei Kusuma Indonesia 12 Inches of Sin
Bus Stop think tank ART Germany Obscura
VI Liquor Paul Butvila Canada 12 Inches of Sin
Serve You Dennis Keim United States Obscura


  1. "Gallery to Feature Art Outtakes from '12 Inches of Sin' Show". The Las Vegas Review-Journal. 29 June 2015. http://www.reviewjournal.com/life/community-organizations/gallery-feature-art-outtakes-12-inches-sin-show. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  2. "Art Exhibit Challenges Ideas of Eroticism". National Public Radio. 24 April 2015. https://knpr.org/knpr/2015-04/art-exhibit-challenges-ideas-eroticism. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "One Sexologist’s Quest to Stimulate Las Vegas’ Art Scene | The Creators Project". http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/las-vegas-sexologist-art. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Call for Art Invites Opportunity to Exhibit: '12 Inches of Sin' at Sin City Gallery in Las Vegas". Las Vegas Arts Commission. 19 August 2015. http://lvartscommission.com/12-inches-of-sin-2015/. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  5. "12 Inches of Sin and Le Salon des Refusés du Péché 3rd Annual International Juried Art Exhibition". 18b: Las Vegas Arts District. 1 April 2014. http://www.18b.org/events/7pm-11pm-12-inches-sin-le-salon-des-refuses-du-peche-3rd-annual-international-juried-art-exhibition/. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  6. "12 Inches of Sin Opening Exhibition". Las Vegas Arts Commission. 28 February 2013. http://www.artsvegas.com/event/12-inches-of-sin-opening-exhibition/. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  7. "Q&A: Dr. Laura Henkel Discusses '12 Inches of Sin' Kickstarter Campaign". XBiz: Adult Industry News. 2 March 2015. http://www.xbiz.com/news/191780. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 REVIEW-JOURNAL, CAROL CLING LAS VEGAS (2016-04-05). "12 Inches of Sin art competition grows from modest beginnings". http://m.reviewjournal.com/neon/arts-culture/12-inches-sin-art-competition-grows-modest-beginnings. 
  9. "Sin City Gallery's '12 Inches of Sin' expands in its fifth year with 'Immersive'". http://lasvegasweekly.com/ae/fine-art/2016/apr/08/sin-city-gallery-12-inches-of-sin-erotic-art-exhib/. 
  10. Lisa Derrick Pop culture journalist, cartwheelart com; art curator (2016-04-05). ""12 Inches of Sin V" Art Gets Sexy, Immersive in Las Vegas April 9". http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-derrick/12-inches-of-sin-v-art-ge_b_9612514.html. 
  11. WRITER, F. ANDREW TAYLOR VIEW STAFF (2016-04-06). "Daylong art event to revolve around ‘12 Inches of Sin’ show". http://www.reviewjournal.com/view/paradise/daylong-art-event-revolve-around-12-inches-sin-show. 
  12. "Artist Call Detail: 12 Inches of Sin International Juried Art Exhibition". California Arts Council. http://www.cac.ca.gov/artistcall/acdetail.php?id=27343. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 "‘12 Inches’ and more: Sin City gallery kicks off a three-month celebration of provocative art". Las Vegas Weekly. April 29, 2015. https://lasvegasweekly.com/ae/fine-art/2015/apr/29/12-inches-and-more-sin-city-gallery-kicks-three-mo/. 
  14. "Juxtapoz Magazine - Exploring Eroticism: 12 Inches of Sin V". http://www.juxtapoz.com/news/erotica/exploring-eroticism-12-inches-of-sin-v/. 
  15. "Call for Art to Exhibit '12 Inches of Sin' | Arts4Nevada". http://arts4nevada.org/opportunities/19/08/2015/call-art-exhibit-12-inches-sin. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 "‘12 Inches of Sin’ returns to Sin City Gallery". Las Vegas Weekly. April 2, 2014. https://lasvegasweekly.com/ae/fine-art/2014/apr/02/12-inches-sin-returns-sin-city-gallery/. 
  17. "Sin City Gallery 12" of Sin Juried Show (NSFW)". http://www.bobbypin.org/news/2016/4/14/sin-city-gallery-12-of-sin-juried-show-nsfw. 
  18. "Kickstarter: 12 Inches of Sin, Volumes I - IV". Kickstarter. 31 March 2015. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1734697750/12-inches-of-sin-so-much-art-you-can-barely-fit-it/description. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  19. "12 Inches of Sin". Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=%2212+inches+of+sin%22&rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3A%2212+inches+of+sin%22. Retrieved 14 May 2017. 
  20. "TWELVE INCHES OF SIN V". https://vimeo.com/171184908. 
  21. "Exhibition Announcement: 12 Inches of Sin VI Invited Artists". 12 Inches of Sin. October 31, 2016. http://sincitygallery.com/12-inches-sin-vi-invited-artists/. Retrieved May 18, 2017. 

External links