Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Boobs: I like it.

So, art being art I have to admit, I posted the picture I took of the piece called "Boobs" because I did like it. As I said when talking about it with the artist recently, "My take on it was that it challenged a preconceived notion of what is
not only acceptable but what is pretty/beautiful when taken out of

He was kind enough to send me the original artist statement to accompany the piece, it follows, reposted with his permission. Thanks Chris!  More from the artist at chrisbacke.blogspot.com

‘BOOBS’ – art, obscene, or neither?

BOOBS is an exploration into
an ongoing debate over the display of the female breast. In one corner,
the nude is an art form that’s been around for centuries, which is
tastefully portrayed to preserve the model’s natural beauty while
allowing the artist to express themselves. In the other corner are
those that often consider the showing of a female breast to be obscene.
They may, for example, attempt to cover a statue that show anatomical
features; attempt to outlaw a person’s behavior, lifestyle or clothing
in the name of ‘obscenity’; or charge a person with a criminal act for
failing to comply with the expected behavior or clothing choice. In
other cases, a women breastfeeding in public or visiting a topless
beach has been the unwanted subject of this debate. All of these have
been done in the name of preventing ‘obscenity’.

Women are
subjected to this discrimination at an early age, when they may learn
from their parents that they must cover their chest, while the boys may
play shirt-free. Even as girls become women they may be made to feel
shame because they must be covered to be accepted.

exactly, is obscenity? According to one legal definition, obscenity
“refers to words, images or actions that offend the sexual morality of
its viewers” (1). The United States Supreme Court uses a three part
test that measures a materials appeal to the "prurient" interest (i.e.,
an unhealthy and degrading interest in sex), that depicts or describes
sexual conduct in a patently offensive way, and that lacks serious
literary, artistic, political or scientific value (2). In 1964, Supreme
Court Justice Potter Stewart famously wrote, "I'll know it when I see
it” – a fearless, though useless, definition of obscenity. (3)

question asked by BOOBS thus comes into focus: Can you tell what is
obscene? Stripped of all other factors that may make breasts ‘obscene’,
can you tell which breasts are ‘obscene’ and which are simply attached
to someone who chose to have their picture taken? I doubt it – you may
be able to categorize a few, but the rest are difficult or impossible
to tell apart. Even I (as the artist) would have a difficult time
telling you where each photo was taken from.

These pictures were
gathered throughout the internet, on websites some might consider
obscene and on other websites displaying normal people displaying
normal anatomical features. Other pictures were gathered from websites
that consider the female form as art. Each picture was cropped to show
only the breast(s), then printed on a high-quality printer and arranged
in a random fashion.

In the end, BOOBS seeks to demonstrate
that breasts are nothing to be afraid of, nothing to discriminate
against (or towards), and nothing that deserves to be considered
obscene under the current definition. The body as a whole is a
beautiful creation – one that deserves to be seen in all its beauty.

(1) Quote taken from http://www.legalzoom.com/legal-articles/obscenity-regulated-internet.html.
(2) Ibid.
(3) Justice Potter Stewart, in his concurring opinion in Jacobellis v. Ohio 378 U.S. 184 (1964).

piece has been uniquely created and numbered. There is no way I or any
other artist could precisely recreate any of these works. All rights
are reserved by Chris Backe, and images may not be reused or
republished without prior permission. For information about purchasing,
please contact Chris by e-mailing chrisinsouthkorea at gmail dot com

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