Friday, 28 January 2011

Outraging Public Decency

I wanted to share a picture of Rick Gibson’s human earrings, but then I realized that his exhibition at the Young Unknowns Gallery lasted only a couple of hours and then he and the gallery owner were charged with and convicted of, outraging public decency. Even-though there are rumors that these earrings are currently held in the collection of Scotland Yard’s Black Museum in London, the museum is closed to the public… So, having read the Obscene Publications Act 1959, I have figured that I might be ‘distributing’ this ‘obscene’ image… even-though; personally, I don’t find it particularly offensive.
These earrings were made of freeze-dried human foetuses. The foetuses were given to Rick Gibson by a British anatomy professor and have been preserved for 20 years at the time he made them.
Now, Rick Gibson is an artist, the purpose of art, is often to provoke. And so is often the purpose of fashion. The more different and daring the piece is, the better. There has been a lot of controversy about the use of fur, outsourcing production to countries with little labour/human rights laws, and of course the issue of anorexic-looking models...
But regardless of these issues, we still buy and wear fur, people still shop at Primark (who makes those clothes?!), and anorexic-looking, does not mean the ladies are actually suffering from a recognized medical illness… The art has often been rather provocative and it hasn’t just disappeared. (There’s currently a Robert Mapplethorpe’s exhibition at Alison Jacques gallery- go shock your senses!). Actually, speaking of that exhibition- there are 6 empty frames on a wall, blacked out. Over 'the black-abyss' there are descriptions of what 'should' be inside the frame... In one of those frames they're talking about a man, a bull-whip, his anus etc etc... Fascinating? That's why it's been 'censored'... NOT. The problem is- the picture is hanging right on the opposite wall, full-size and what not... Weird, right? Censorship fail? Maybe? Maybe not... I was too embarrassed to speak to my teacher about it. Go check it out and tell me what you think.

Oh yes, and what do you think- where shall we draw the line between art and beauty, decency and standing firm by our moral values? Morality and ethics depend on our culture, so what is decent somewhere in America might not be viewed as such in Iran, for example. What is censorship like in your country? What is it affected by?

I am SUCH a student... I know, I know.


  1. Great post! Very interesting questions; I'll think about it.

  2. I agree with Jamil. great controversial post. My head tells me that in art all is permitted because it is art, and art is is one way that can challenge us, our senses, our mind, etc... in a SAFE environment, unlike when we are faced with a real situation. Art allows us to prepare. and rehearse in a way for such occasion where we are faces with necessity rather than an aesthetic choice. On the other hand, my heart says... if these foetuses came from you, how would you feel about this? (and I looked at the pictures, personally I dont see that I would like to wear such earrings, I dont find them particularly appealing, just like I would not find it appealing to wear lets say freeze-dried shrimps. But see this already made me make an association. Finally there has to be a limit, I believe and that limit has to be that of consent of all parties involved.

  3. interesting post! now you got me wondering what those earrings looks like ;)

  4. I loved this, great!!
    Fantastic post!!

    ...OH MY VOGUE

  5. A great post, and you hit the nail on the head with these question

  6. wow I don't think at all those earrings are appropriate :s To ask your question dear: all the photos are from the ilovewildfox blog, you'll find there tons of photos like those; I think to see the whole set you'll have to go to S/S 2009 or 2010, I'm not sure :)


  7. Алис, добавь меня. Я новый создала блог.

  8. great post! very interesting. i don't think i'd wear those earrings. Art can be shown in anyway, but personally I would want it to be a positive image of course :)

  9. Very rapidly this site will be famous among all blog people, due to it's nice posts

    Here is my web blog: ford ranger forum

  10. This is such an interesting post! Glad to see you still have thought provoking material on your blog. I think that suffering is universal, not limited only to humans but to animals too. Therefore I draw the line at any art/fashion/code of conduct that is derived from, or causes, suffering. I have no issue with Rick Gibson's human earrings for example as he murdered nothing to create them and no families would be aware that their unborn children were featured in the exhibition, so all it creates is a sense of discomfort in audiences which is brilliant and what makes a great and controversial artist. A fur coat or Primark clothing however is derived from suffering and for that reason I boycott Primark and would never buy real fur.


Thanks for taking the time to leave a message.
I appreciate every comment!