Daily Briefs
2 min

Any pix?

The ethical implications of using dick pics as art

I’m sure by now you’ve all heard about the art and artists behind Show Me More: A Collection of DickPix, a now notorious exhibition by four women who amassed a number of online dick pics and turned them into a controversial art show. Art is relative, so whether you think it’s good/interesting/shocking art is up to you. My question is, is this ethical?

There’s a big difference between getting solicited and unsolicited dick pics. It also makes a big difference how you go about getting them. Most of the artists solicited for dick pics as themselves:

"One of the artists, however, went a step further by posing as a gay man on Grindr and wound up with 150 photos, which didn’t surprise any of the sex scientists or researchers I spoke to."

That, to me, is where things start to move into the unethical. Vice reports that if a Grindr user’s pic is used in the show and he was misled about the solicitor’s true identity, he can sue her for internet impersonation:

"But unless any of these users walk into the Bushwick exhibit and recognize themselves, they’ll never know more than one stranger saw their dicks. But if a dick pic gets shown in a public space and the dick’s owner doesn’t know, is it moral? Is it right?"

Context is very important, as is intent. Whether I agree with an artist or not, or think their work is legitimate, I wouldn’t tell them what they can or can’t create. If a woman is sent a dick pic unsolicited, disgusting. If she is sent one solicited, it’s her choice if she wants to put that dick up on a wall, for whatever that means. If she masquerades a man, asks other men-seeking-men for dick pics in a very specific (online) space that isn’t a community she’s a part of, that makes me question her ethics. Maybe it’s silly to get worked up about, but I love when art is provocative and gets people talking.

Ironically enough, Daily Xtra was going to put together a video about the exhibit, but according to my sources the artists or gallery aren’t allowing photography or video into the event for privacy issues.

What do you think? Can dick pics be art? Is it ethical to use them in an exhibition?