Artist: Patricia Ridenour
Confronting Bodies: Marita Holdaway, director and owner, Benham Gallery
Date of Action: February 2002
Specific Location: Benham Gallery, Seattle, WA
Description of Artwork: A series of black-and-white photographs that seek to break down the thin barriers dividing art, advertising and pornography. Photographs by Patricia Ridenour of fully nude male models with large penises were designed to cause the same type of scandal as Edouard Manet’s "Olympia" painting did in 19th century Paris. “I asked myself who Olympia would need to be today to cause a stir," Ridenour joked, "and I guess it is a man with a big one."
Description of Incident: The nudes were exhibited in the first room of the Benham gallery together with two other artists’ works in the group show. After two weeks of display, the photos by Ridenour were moved to the third room of Benham just before the opening of the show because, as Marita Holdaway explains, gallery visitors would not proceed to the rest of the gallery after encountering images in the first room that reminded them of the Lusty Lady sex shop just few doors away. The director admits she told the artist "the big dicks offended visitors." As a result, Ridenour publicly took down her works during the opening of the exhibition and withdrew from the show. "Why are big dicks taboo when big boobs are acceptable?" she wondered. "Finally men might get a taste of the inadequacy women feel every time they open a magazine."
Results of Incident: The photos were later exhibited at Darbury Stenderu boutique, Seattle.
Source: www.seattleweekly.com, NCAC
Submitted By: NCAC
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