Lower East Side gallery Rivington Design House is in hot water with its neighbors over a photograph of a nude man displayed in its front window. Despite the fact that the image is not sexual or vulgar in any way, neighbors accused the gallerists of being unaware of or indifferent to the fact that many children pass by the Kenmare Street storefront every day.
The nude photo is the work of artist Bek Andersen, and is part of a show entitled “Clothed Female/Naked Male,” which seeks to shift the paradigm of nudity in art. “There is nothing pornographic or offensive happening in that photo,” Andersen told Gothamist. “It’s a portrait of a man. He is naked, but doing nothing indecent. We see naked women all the time in photos where they are highly sexualized and people don’t notice because they are desensitized.”
The backlash from community members only confirms Andersen’s point—that we are so accustomed to artistic nudity being limited to portrayals of women that we find it offensive when the male body is put on similar display.
Despite the wave of complaints, there are no reports that the work in question has been removed from the storefront. You can see the photographs, as well as the offended passersby, until August 15.
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