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Penis Museum Exhibit Stands Firm And Raises Eyebrows

IOWA CITY, Iowa ~ (Huffington Post) ~ A collection of plaster-cast penises, featuring the member of a late porn star, on display at the University of Iowa is causing a bit of a stir.

Fine arts student Emily Moran Barwick, the exhibit's creator, said the exhibit demonstrates how easily someone's body part can become a "commodity item". 'John Holmes Prick Parade' features decorated, replica castings of the late porn star's penis. Barwick said she first encountered a replica of the Holmes casting while working at a novelty store in her hometown in Florida. "It made me (think about) body ownership and who owns the body and who is licensed to the body," Barwick said, "it's disturbing to think that one's own body can be a commodity."

To make the project more collaborative, Barwick sent out duplicate castings, made from a mold she found online, to volunteers as far away as Miami who wanted to contribute to the project. Participants were encouraged to adorn the castings as they chose, and then return them to Barwick to add to her collection. Barwick said each sculpture displays an individual theme that communicates the message of the human body as a product.

University of Iowa spokesman Tom Moore said the school has guidelines about what is deemed tasteful and appropriate for its art students to display, and this project falls within those guidelines. "This is a matter of artistic expression, and the proper controls are in place to alert visitors of what they may encounter," Moore said. Benjamin Chait, owner of Chait Galleries Downtown in Iowa City, said putting the human form on display is nothing new. "I would invite you to come into our gallery and look at our penis art. We have quite a bit of it, ans we don't find it offensive," Chait said, "it's all in the context in which it's offered."

Photo credit: therealpornwikipedia

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