Madonna’s Sex book is one of the most iconic and resounding art projects conceived by the pop star. The photographs by Steven Meisel feature open-minded erotic imagery and sexual fantasies. It was released on October 21, 1992, as a sort of visual companion to her fifth studio album Erotica. In fact, a CD single with the song “Erotic” was included in the package, whose lyrics consist of passages from the book read by Madonna. The original price was $50 USD.
Due to the great expectation the announcement provoked, Sex book sold over 150,000 copies on the day of its release, and topped The New York Times Best Seller list for three consecutive weeks. In only a few days, more than 1.5 million copies were sold worldwide, becoming the best-selling coffee table book of all time. Not surprisingly, the book was denounced by the Vatican. It was subsequently banned in India and Japan.
The cover is made of aluminum, spiral bound, and wrapped in a silver mylar bag. It was edited by Glenn O’Brien and published by Warner Books. Fabien Baron was in charge of graphic design, which combined certain pages with collages, pages in both monochrome and full color, and handwritten and printed texts (some of them written by Madonna). All the different editions in other languages maintain the same appearance.
American photographer Steven Meisel obtained great popularity and critical acclaim with the images taken for this work. Now he is considered one of the most relevant fashion photographers today. The book features not only Madonna, but also other artists and celebrities such as Naomi Campbell, Isabella Rossellini, Udo Kier, Tony Ward, Vanilla Ice, and Big Daddy Kane.
The book’s cultural impact still resonates today, and it has become a cult collectible. To celebrate the 30-year anniversary of its publication, Sex was reissued by Yves Saint Laurent Rive Droite and published by Callaway. 800 copies were made of this edition, and a limited number were signed by Madonna and sold off at an auction for charity purposes.
The re-edition was accompanied by an exhibition at Art Basel curated by Madonna and Anthony Vaccarello.
What is the current value of Madonna’s Sex book?
As one of the most desirable items for Madonna’s fans, Sex is also one of the most sought-after titles in the book-collecting market. Currently, a 1992 copy edition can be sold for up to several hundred USD. A US copy in the original unopened envelope can be found from $400 to $800 USD, although copies in other languages are less valuable. Signed copies of Madonna’s Sex book can reach several thousand dollars. The special YSL re-edition was sold for $2,200 dollars.