The Dick Show is an exhibition dedicated entirely to the male nude and opens June 29 at the Gallery Potemkin, above the Owl Acoustic Lounge, 411 – 3rd Avenue South, Lethbridge. The exhibition closes August 10, 2013.
The Dick Show is a response to the way female nudity is treated in our culture. Thirty-eight years after Laura Mulvey's groundbreaking article "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema" was first published, the female body is still seen as more palatable and consumable than the male.
Feminist art activists the Guerrilla Girls have counted the number of women artists vs. the number of female nudes on exhibition in the modern art sections of the Metropolitan Museum in NY in 1989, 2005 and 2012.
- In 1989, less than 5% of the artists being show were female whereas 85% of the nudes were female.
- In 2005, less than 3% of the artists being show were female whereas 83% of the nudes were female.
- In 2012, less than 4% of the artists being show were female whereas 76% of the nudes were female.
We have been conditioned by popular historical and contemporary representations to believe women’s bodies are more accessible and therefore less threatening than male bodies. It is easier for people to objectify the female body, whereas men are seen as active, significant subjects.
In 2012, two Austrian museums drew much international attention by dedicating exhibitions to the male nude: The Naked Man, at the Lentos Art Museum in Linz and Nude Men: from 1800 to the present day, at the Leopold Museum in Vienna.
I believe these two exhibitions indicate a willingness and timeliness regarding reexamining the male nude in art.
At a very simplistic level, I want to redress the imbalance of female nudes vs. male nudes being shown in our own community. At a more philosophical level, I want people to reconsider the male body and, specifically, male nudity.
I hope visitors to the show will consider what preconceived notions we share about male nudity and ask ourselves why the male nude is often considered obscene even when there is no explicit or overt sexual content in the image.
The opening reception in Saturday, June 29, from 7:30 – 9:30 pm. The general public is welcome and there is no charge.