COURTESY SPENCER TUNICK AND THE NATIONAL COALITION AGAINST CENSORSHIP
To challenge online censorship of art featuring naked bodies or body parts, photographer Spencer Tunick, in collaboration with the National Coalition Against Censorship, will stage a nude art action in New York on June 2. The event will bring together 100 undressed participants at an as-yet-undisclosed location, and Tunick will photograph the scene and create an installation using donated images of male nipples. (The National Coalition will release logistical details on its website on the day of event.)
Artists Andres Serrano, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, and Tunick have given photos of their own nipples to the cause, as has Bravo TV personality Andy Cohen, Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, and actor/photographer Adam Goldberg.
In addition, the National Coalition Against Censorship—a collective of more than 50 nonprofit organizations—has launched a #WeTheNipple campaign through which Instagram and Facebook users can share their experiences with censorship and advocate for changes to the social media platforms’ guidelines related to nudity. Last month, artist Betty Tompkins’s Instagram account was deactivated after she shared an image of her Fuck Painting #1 (1969). At the time of her expulsion, Tompkins (whose account has since been reinstated), explained that Instagram has become an important tool for artists seeking to reach new audiences and disseminate their work, noting “how embedded Instagram is in our professional life.”
Among the institutions that have voiced support for the #WeTheNipple initiative are the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Artists having declared their solidarity include Clarity Haynes, Sarah Trigg, and Marilyn Minter.