Never mind: XVALA, the Los Angeles artist who planned to incorporate the nude stolen images of Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton into an upcoming art exhibit in Florida, has reversed course. Because he now feels empathy for the victims who were hacked. Seriously.
Social media was indeed angered by XVALA’s plans to feature the pictures in his art exhibit titled “No Delete,” which has been in the works for several years. It features a large collection of personal celebrity photos that he found on Google; he intends to make a point about the lack of digital privacy in our culture. But when the artist announced his plans to use the Lawrence and Upton images with all the others (from Britney Spears to Scarlet Johansson), people lit up Twitter and Facebook with disgust about the idea.
Cory Allen, the publicist who owns the St. Petersburg gallery housing the exhibit, said last week that the show wasn’t trying to exploit the women whose property was stolen. Instead, it was all in the name of art and a larger commentary about privacy issues. Seriously.
Allen said he and the artist had been mulling over when to schedule the exhibit and decided to set a date once they saw people angered over the celebrity photo hacks. “We immediately saw the dialogue that was happening and felt strongly that it was time to act,” Allen said. (He also explained that they hadn’t looked into the legal ramifications yet, even though both Lawrence and Upton’s reps threatened action if anyone distributed the pictures.)
What they didn’t count on, apparently, was just how appalled people were by the idea. “It wasn’t just about being ‘hacked’ images anymore, but now presented in the media as stolen property,” XVALA said in the release. “People were identifying with Jennifer Lawrence’s and Kate Upton’s victimization, much more than I had anticipated, which is powerfully persuasive.”
Also persuasive: Lots and lots of press regardless of eliminating the photos, as XVALA’s plans made headlines nationwide. Who would have thought? The show will still take place on Oct. 30 with XVALA’s extensive collection of celebrity photos.
Oh, and there will still be nude photos; instead of Lawrence or Upton XVALA will display naked selfies of himself in their place. “The artist decided to turn the cameras around on him; wanting the focus to be about an individual’s privacy and not just the exploitation of women,” the release explained.
“This concept was always about self-examination in our current culture. Why we feel the need to know and cross the lines of other individual’s privacy,” XVALA added.