The Story Behind the Dick Pic Art Show
By Rebecca Rush
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but sometimes it takes a thousand pictures to say one word: NO.
Artist Kidd Bell’s I Didn’t Ask For This: A Lifetime of Dick Pics SF Edition will be tonight and tomorrow at SOMArts. Although tonight’s tickets are sold out online, there will be 200 more available at the door. It’s an immersive experience featuring 150+ unsolicited dick pics, hung up inside a full recreation of the artist’s home. The installation will also house a pop-up shop from the artist’s online store.
The work of over 30 other artists will be featured as well, including Melodie Perrault, Laura Callaghan, Porous Walker, and a special texting installation from Bye Felipe, the famed Instagram account that calls out men who turn hostile when rejected.
A second day, Saturday was added due to an overwhelming response in ticket sales – but of course, that was not the only response. The absurdism of men’s rage at female attempts to call them out on their bullshit is astounding.
From protesting the women’s only Wonder Woman screening this month, to the backlash of men calling this installation “revenge porn,” that went all the way to the Soma Gallery and the city of San Francisco in attempts to stop it from happening.
“We are so used to accepting this kind of behavior as the norm,” said Bell, who recounted a scene she witnessed on the NYC subway a few years back. She told me about an incident where a man who appeared to be reading a book stood up as the train stopped, sprayed cum all over her chest and hair, and then ran.
“Nobody did anything,” she recounted.
Bell went on to say, “It’s time to strip away the shame of the lie of our personal responsibility for sexual harassment and assault.”
I could not agree more. A year ago, a man I dated in rehab contacted me to make an amends. It was really nice. Until the end, when he asked me if I wanted to see his new necklace and when I said yes he immediately sent me a picture of his dick.
“HAHA, made you look”, it said. Feeling outraged but not feeling I had an appropriate place to voice my rage, I took it to a now disbanded group for female comedians on Facebook, that ended, as all great things do, over some dick.
After asking the groups admins if they consented to the story and the photo, I posted it. Soon the group had added dozens upon dozens of their own unsolicited dick pics, most notably, comedian Tracey Carnazzo who posted a photo with the message,
“This is from my doorman. He said it was a mistake. Three times.”
Our current political climate is the perfect Petri dish for unifying and resisting. And the more I see and hear, the more I am sure: the resistance is female.
And it is our job as artists – the comedians I speak of here in NYC, the visual artists I speak of on the west coast, to empower other women to speak their truth. Only by empowering ourselves can we empower others to let their light shine, to speak their truth, to say: NO.
Put your dick away, bruh.
Setting the installation as her home is what really brings it to the next level. It’s not just a bunch of dicks on a wall, it’s in a recreation of Bell’s own apartment. “My place is completely empty right now,” she laughs. K. Bell has got her priorities just right by showing the pictures in the context of the apartment.
The point is finally driven home to men, who have been conditioned to see women as hysterical, as overreactive, and just don’t want to believe us when we say these things happen.
Standing in Bell’s bedroom surrounded by dicks, they get it. We have nowhere to go. Street harassment is terrifying, but there’s a special kind of terror when you know not even your sanctuary is safe.
Tickets can be bought here for $15-20 for Saturday, I Didn’t Ask For This: A Lifetime of Dick Pics Tickets, Fri, Jun 9, 2017, at 7:00 PM | Eventbrite and as mentioned previously Friday night, the night of the big party, is sold out but there will be 200 more tickets available at the door.
A portion of all proceeds from the exhibition will be donated to #Happy Period, which supplies homeless women with menstrual products. Furthermore, if you bring a box of tampons or pads you get a free drink ticket.
“Privilege is about helping those with less,” Bell said as we wrapped up our conversation, “and empowerment is a privilege. It is my duty as an artist, and as a woman to help other women empower themselves, and that is what I am doing here with this.”
Yessssss bitch. Yes.