Monday I shall be visiting WEAM (World Erotic Art Museum) in Miami, South Beach, Florida – join me?
Founded in 2005 , WEAM is the only museum in the United States devoted exclusively to fine erotic art. In a remarkably short time for a still private collection, WEAM has developed one of the world’s most renowned permanent museums for this genre.
Today the WEAM Collection includes over 4000 works of international art, ranging from 300 BCE to the immediate present. In terms of its quality, diversity and incomparable profile of erotic art, the WEAM stands out clearly from other museum collections.
Alongside its mission to familiarize the general public with erotic art, the WEAM’s other prime objective is the ongoing expansion of its Collection. We collect, preserve and present works of erotic art of the highest quality from diverse cultures. We embrace our responsibility to engage and educate our community, to contribute to cultural knowledge of erotic art in history.
WEAM’S vision is expressed in the breadth and depth of its exhibition program. In 2011 WEAM premiered the first US exhibition of rare erotic Rembrandt Etchings, In 2012 we arranged the first Solo show of Helmut Newton in Florida in Cooperation with the MDM in Salzburg.
Founded on the Collection of Naomi Wilzig, WEAM is today an ever growing institution devoted to erotic art and with this focus it is a unique institution in the world.
Biography: Naomi Wilzig (Miss Naomi) Nee/Naomi Sisselman
Born in Newark, N.J. , 12/5/34
Father was H. Jerome Sisselman, known as Hackensack Meadowlands Czar (amassed huge tract of land to build Berry”s Creek Center, which was tabled after estate battle of his six children. Remaining sister, Rachel Araten, living in Israel
Married Siggi B. Wilzig, 12/31/1953
Siggi Wilzig, an Auschwitz survivor, was CEO and President of The Trust Company of New Jersey, a major N.J. bank until his death in 2003
Three children, Ivan, known as Sir Ivan, the Peaceman, recording artist for Arista records and founder of the Peaceman Charitable foundation of which Naomi is a trustee. Sherry Izak, CEO of Wilshire Enterprises, listed on the AMEX, two children, Jesse and Jonathan Alan, former president of Trustcompany Bank, now a real estate developer Wife Karin, son Siggi and daughter Winni.
Graduated from Weequahic High School in Newark, N.J. Attended Montclair State Teachers College. Lived most of married life in Clifton, New Jersey. Life Member and a Founder of Hadassah Hospital, Jerusalem, Israel. Member President’s Club of Israel Bonds, Life Member of Cong. Adas Israel Synagogue in Passaic, N.J. And only woman ever honored as Woman of the Year
Life member, and director of Daughters of Miriam Center for the Aged and a past president of the Women’s Auxiliary. Life member Florida Holocaust Museum, St. Pete, Fl. Founder of Parents Association of Cardoza Law School, Yeshiva UniversityMember M. B. Chamber of Commerce
Member of the American Association of Museums
Member Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce
Member of Greater Miami Latin Chamber of Commerce
Member of Greater Miami Beach Hotel Association
Member of Greater Miami Gay/Lesbian Chamber of Commerce,
Founder of the Wilzig Hospital Center, Jersey City, N.J
Authored Lifeline to Eternity, an award winning script on Jewish identity
Authored The Suffering Survivor, a poetic account of the Holocaust
Authored 5 books on her personal erotic art collection:Forbidden Art the World of Erotica, Visions of Erotica, Erotic Secrets, Erotic Treasures and Erotic Wonders.
Founder and president of the World Erotic Art Museum in Miami Beach, Florida, 2005
Guest lecturer at Pasco Hernando Community College\Recipient of Key to the City of Miami Beach on first anniversary of WEAM, Oct. 2006
Named as one of Leading Power Women in South Florida, , Sun Post newspaper, Oct. 2007
Named as one of the 100 power people of greater Miami by the Miami International Magazine, 2008
Recipient of Honorary Doctor of Jurisprudence from the Rabbinical College of America in Morristown, N.J. 2009
Member of Board of Directors of Miami Beach Holocaust Foundation
Donate first Torah to the Chabad of South Beach in Dec. 2009.
Recognized by City of Miami Beach in proclamation as World Erotic Art Museum Day, October, 2010
Chosen as Business Person of the Year by the Greater Miami Gay/Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, 2011
Awarded degree of Doctor of Arts Honoris Causa Sexology/Erotology, Mar. 12, 2011By the Institute of Advanced Study of Human Sexuality, state of California
Oct. 16, 2011, Proclaimed “Naomi Wilzig Day” by the city of Miami Beach on the 7th anniversary of the World Erotic Art Museum upon public investiture of Doctorate degree.
6/11/2013 Naomi Wilzig was appointed to the Dean’s Advisory Board of Directors of the College of Architecture + Art of Florida International University
7/10/2013 Naomi Wilzig was keynote speaker at the First Amendment Lawyers Association meeting in Philadelphia, Pa.
1/15/14 Naomi Wilzig was guest speaker at the opening meeting of the Citizens Interested in the Arts organization
June 30, 2014
The Queen of Erotic Art
By Mary Damiano
Naomi Wilzig, owner of the World Erotic Art Museum.
Some years back, Naomi Wilzig thought her doctor, an Orthodox Jew, would criticize her for growing hobby of collecting erotic art. The doctor’s response to Wilzig’s unique passion?
Whatever makes you get up and go each day, and is a challenge for your life, and gives you an interest, is what keeps you healthy and young.”
Wilzig has a lot of reasons to get up each day. She is the founder and owner of the World Erotic Art Museum in Miami Beach,. She is well-known and respected in the art world as an authority on erotic art. She has a thriving family of children and grandchildren. And she’s about to add another item to the list—the Naomi Wilzig Art and Charity Foundation, which she’s launching in celebration of her 75th birthday.
“I’ve always been very busy, but I’m very organized,” says Wilzig. “I’ve always been very lucky that whatever I’ve tried to do, I’ve been fairly successful.”
With all of Wilzig’s accomplishments—raising a family, writing five books, opening a museum—she sees her latest endeavor as the next logical step. The foundation will be an umbrella organization that will give funds to local organizations in need, including hospitals, cancer research, cancer care, AIDS programs, and Holocaust foundations.
Wilzig’s passion for erotic art began more than 20 years ago, when her eldest son, Sir Ivan, a recording artist, asked her to pick out a few erotic art pieces for his swanky new apartment. Wilzig, who always loved collecting antiques, discovered a whole new avenue of collecting, which lead her down a new life path of self-discovery.
The Jewish grandmother traveled the world collecting erotic art pieces and amassed one of the largest collections in the world. Along the way, she reinvented herself as a force in the art world, the Queen of Erotic Art, as Ivan dubbed her.
Wilzig opened up the World Erotic Art Museum in Miami Beach in October 2005 because she felt her collection should be seen and enjoyed by the public. Her warm, grandmotherly visage was soon the face of erotic art, smiling from her taxi cab advertisements, inviting residents and tourists to come to her museum.
“I’ve received both pro and con comments about that,” says Wilzig of her moving advertisements. “I originally did it because I wanted people to realize that it’s not some quack organization, it’s not some pornographic type of thing. I wanted people to feel comfortable with the idea of coming to the museum, because it really is a fine art museum. I’ve had people say it can’t be very interesting if an old lady is running it.”
Wilzig says her biggest challenge in the four years since WEAM opened its doors is overcoming the stigma of erotic art.
“There are many people who are challenged by the idea of coming in,” says Wilzig. “They are presuming that erotic means pornographic. We are fine art. They don’t realize the potential and experience of coming in and discovering 12,000 square feet of erotic art from all over the world.
“So many people are unaware that erotic art has been created throughout the centuries,” Wilzig continues. “They have such a narrow-minded vision without realizing that without eroticism, without the sexual acts which are depicted, there would be no people. What the art does is visualizes the thoughts and activities of habits of people throughout the ages.”
Wilzig explains that much of the early erotic art was meant as fertility symbols, encouraging people to go forth and multiply.
In addition to being open to the general public, WEAM has become a popular spot for organizations—everyone from a gay men’s leather group to a Hadassah group—to hold meetings, parties, fundraisers and get-togethers. She recalls an elderly group of women who visited the museum on the insistence of their middle-aged daughters who had experienced WEAM with their Hadassah organization.
“I feel that I have done something important in creating the museum,” says Wilzig. “I didn’t realize it at the time how important it would become. For the most part people have welcomed it and are fascinated by it. We just want to keep getting that message out there that this is not pornography.”
Wilzig is most proud that WEAM has found validation from academia. Professors from other cultures have visited WEAM, commenting to Wilzig that nothing like it exists in their country. And she is very proud that human sexuality professors at various local colleges send their students to WEAM so they can better visualize what’s being taught in class. Recently, students from a sex therapists’ training institute also visited WEAM.
“For colleges to accept it and recognize the importance of it is really very satisfying to me,” says Wilzig.
Visit website for some beautiful photographs of extensive collection: