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New art show tackles digital harassment with a collection of unsolicited dick pics

Written by
Sarah Martin

Artist and activist Whitney Bell is inviting viewers into her home this month to show just how pervasive unsolicited dick pics have become.

Opening Friday, June 9 at the SOMArts Cultural Center, I Didn’t Ask For This: A Lifetime of Dick Pics tackles the ever-growing problem of digital harassment with a collection of 200 unsolicited photos framed and hung in a replication of Bell’s Los Angeles home.

“Bringing the viewer into my home shows how invasive this kind of harassment is, that there is no escaping the patriarchy,” explained Bell.

With the rise of dating apps, dick pics have become so commonplace they’re almost considered normal, but Bell’s show emphasizes that these images aren’t normal or wanted. Viewers can expect to see a whole lot of dicks, but the intent of the exhibit is not to shame men or their sexual organs, but rather to expose what little respect some men have for women. If these men wanted an audience, they certainly got one.

Photograph: Courtesy Whitney Bell

In addition to the genital selfies, the exhibit also includes works from over 30 artists who were asked to create pieces on the topics of harassment, modern dating and the female condition. The results are varied and powerful, including Allison Honeycutt’s flesh suits and a sexting installation by Bye Felipe. 

“I want to stress that this show is not just about the dick pic but about changing the way that we view sexual harassment as a whole," added Bell. 

Tickets are on sale for Friday night's opening party with a portion of all proceeds going to #HappyPeriod, a non-profit which supplies menstrual products to women who are homeless, low income or living in poverty.

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