Sebastian Horsley  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Dandy in the Underworld

Sebastian Horsley (August 8, 1962 – June 17, 2010) was a London artist best known for having undergone a voluntary crucifixion. Horsley's writings often revolve around his dysfunctional family, his drug addictions, sex, and his reliance on prostitutes. He died of a heroin overdose.


Art and writing

Horsley's in-your-face writings often revolve around his dysfunctional family, his drug addictions, sex, and his reliance on hats.

In August 2000 Horsley travelled to the Philippines to experience a crucifixion, in order to prepare for a series of paintings on the topic. Refusing pain killers, he was nailed to a cross and passed out. The foot rest broke and he almost fell off. A film and photos of the event, as well as his subsequent paintings of crosses, were exhibited in London in 2002.

In an editorial article in The Observer in 2004, he described his preference for sex with prostitutes, writing "What I hate with women generally is the intimacy, the invasion of my innermost space, the slow strangulation of my art." He also stated that he himself had worked as a prostitute for a while. He argued that prostitution should not be legalized, as that would take away part of its thrill.

Horsley ran a monthly column in the Erotic Review from 1998 to 2004. In early 2006, Horsley together with Marion McBride began to run a weekly sex advice column in The Observer. Four months later, after graphic discussions of oral and anal sex had lead to numerous complaints from readers, the column was discontinued.

Horsley, a self-described dandy, praised his chosen home of Soho in an article in 2006.

In September 2007, the Spectrum London gallery staged Hookers, Dealers, Tailors, a retrospective by Horsley. The show documented his diving in Australian shark-infested water and copiously ingesting deadly drugs.


His memoir, Dandy in the Underworld (ISBN 1841157546), named after the T.Rex album of same name (Horsley counts Marc Bolan as one of his idols) was published in the UK by Sceptre in September 2007 and in the USA in March 2008 from Harper Perennial. In it, he claims to have had an affair with the Scottish gangster-turned-artist Jimmy Boyle. Horsley further stated that his late wife, Evlynn, also had an affair with Boyle, who served as best man at the couple's wedding, according to Horsley's mother.

U.S. entry denied

Horsley was refused entry into the United States March 19, 2008, after arriving at Newark Airport for a book tour. Immigration officers denied his entry claiming issues of moral turpitude. " who have been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude (which includes controlled-substance violations) or admit to previously having a drug addiction are not admissible..." said customs spokeswoman, Lucille Cirillo. After eight hours of questioning, he was placed on a plane and sent back to London. Horsley had told the Associated Press that he had prepared for the visit; his one concession: removing his nail polish.


Horsley was found dead on 17 June 2010 with a suspected drug overdose.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Sebastian Horsley" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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