THE NIPPLE PROJECT:
FROM ONLINE TO OUT IN PUBLIC
What started out as an online art statement has blossomed into a mixed media exhibit at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art in Santa Anna, California. Opening June 7th, in a show entitled, "Enclosed, Encased, Enrobed", will be an installation of mixed media nipples.
Some will be in a wall installation with nipples sewn onto individual bras, a section guilded with pink for submissions related to breast cancer, and some on objects that represent some of the most common slang terms for breasts. Cans. Hooters. Melons. Boulders. All with nipples attached, of course. This truely unique and quirky project gets a fitting exhibit.
How did the nipple project get started? Well, a few years ago, Victoria's Secret introduced the IPEX bra designed to provide 'maximum nipple coverage'. Jennifer Baylis and Andrea Domingnez felt that this was just one more way to eradicate and androgenize an important female body part. Which at the same time, ironically, is a body part most emphasized in fashion and the media. As the project evolved, the organizers realized that they had started something that went even deeper. They received nipples from breast cancer survivers and those who had lost friends and family to breast cancer expressing their grief and respect. As well as new mothers expressing the joys of nursing.
I heard about the project and totally agreed with Jennifer and Andrea. As a women and the mother of two children, I felt that nipples needed to be honored and appreciated for being such wonderful multi-taskers. I created six nipples for the project.
Three are made of brass metal screening and decorated with copperwire and beads. I see these as the 'goddess' nipples using symbols of precious metals and beads to honor their role in creation and nuturing. The other three are made of aluminium screening that I painted in a variety of amusing, colorful and fun ways to appreciate the wonderful, playful quality that nipples also represent.
I sent them off wrapped appropriately in Victoria's Secret tissue paper. It just seemed to me to be the 'perfect fit'.