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Published On: Wed, Jul 30th, 2014

Wyatt Neumann NY Exhibit ‘I Feel Sorry For Your Children’ examines sexualization of kids

SafariNYC Gallery is pleased to bring you a new exhibit from photographer Wyatt Neumann. “I FEEL SORRY FOR YOUR CHILDREN” – the sexualization of innocence in americawill open on Thursday, July 31st with a reception from 6 PM to 10 PM. 

Wyatt Newmann's exhibit examines the sexualization of children in photographs  photo/courtsy of Wyatt Newmann

Wyatt Newmann’s exhibit examines the sexualization of children in photographs photo/courtsy of Wyatt Newmann

Having traveled tens of thousands of miles over the past few years taking photographs or “Notes From The Road” as he catalogues them, Neumann took the rare opportunity in the spring of 2014, to travel with Stella, his 2 year-old daughter. As any father would do, he documented their journey with photographs. While on their cross-country road trip, a hyper puritanical, neo-conservative group launched a cyber attack on the photographic works, specifically, those photographs of his children.
 
Shutting down his Facebook, his Instagram, and attempting to shut down his website, they went as far as starting a webpage about him and his seemingly “perverse” images. Baseless claims of Wyatt being a “child pornographer, a pervert” followed and attacks on his friends were made claiming they were simply “waiting around for a chance to get five minutes alone with his children.” Fearing legal backlash, many of the worst statements were redacted, but the vitriol, and their agenda, was clear:Get Wyatt Neumann’s photographs off the Internet.
 
“These compelling images of children, taken by their father, have been scrutinized and censored by conservatives who deemed them pornography. Along with the images will be the statements made by these people, people who hide behind the cloak of Internet, attacking real people from a veil of anonymity. This work unintentionally documents censorship in the Information Age, an issue we are just beginning to understand. Just as the film The Americans documented an era with a cross country journey that posed questions about a shift in our values, so does this work in today’s internet driven society.” – KP Lawless, Safari Gallery

The closing date of the exhibit is TBD.

Artist Statement:

This show, and this work, details a stark contrast between two very different ideologies and worldviews in both America and abroad. One is open minded, proud and expressive. Unafraid. The other is far more conservative; a point of view bent on shame, and the manipulations of people’s freedoms based on subjective will.
 
What’s troubling is the abject reviling of the human body, the intense and overt sexualization of the natural human form, especially the naked bodies of carefree young children, who have yet to feel the burden of institutionalized body image awareness and the embarrassment that comes with adolescence. My children are free, they live without shame.
 
This comparison of differences in opinion is a timely look at not only the cultural divide in America, but at a culture being dictated more and more on tenets of fear and control.
 
In my photographs, some people see innocence and beauty, while others see only sexual victimization and violence. It’s an interesting lesson in the power of fear and fundamentalism, and the aggression that it can spawn. It’s also a mirror that we can look at and see ourselves looking back. It’s a chance to decide how we want to view the world, and to decide what kind of world we want to create. For ourselves, our futures, and the future we leave for our children.
 
And it’s a chance to see, maybe, what we don’t want to be…
 
So, the choice seems clear: do we live in fear and condemnation? Or do we celebrate one another, and ourselves, in this life? I choose to believe in our ability to fight fear with love, ignorance with understanding, and to unite rather than divide.
 
But you be the judge… Is this pornography, art, expression, or exploitation? It’s up to us to either cower in fear, or liberate ourselves and live.
 
I choose life.
 
Thank you. 
 
Wyatt Neumann

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  1. I’m pretty sure most parents are pornographers… | ChrisMaverick dotcom says:

    […] Wyatt Neumann NY Exhibit ‘I Feel Sorry For Your Children’ examines sexualization of kids […]

  2. Irish says:

    This is really interesting and for me, comes back to a discussion around whether it’s appropriate to post on the web. I support his statements and think that a gallery show and catalogue bring a larger and meaningful context to the work. On the one hand, a parent/child relationship has an intimacy and openness that is just that, a relationship and posting on a platform that gives no context and that he fails to take into consideration whether his daughter owns her own image (!!!!!) is the issue for me. The trust and openness are really beautiful in these images. I love them, but the ways in which we deliver information are not all equal. The comment that really struck me was the one that wrote “I’ll send you an email when I see this traded on the deep web”. Deep web, get it? Layers and layers of access and misuse of an image. You simply can’t ignore that women and girls have become victimized by on-line bullying, snapshots of nudes, anything compromising. So, yeah I love his photos and see the freedom and innocence in that lovely child and that freedom and agency for kids should be cherished, but hell folks, we don’t have to post every frnkng experience we have, even if you are a damn fine photographer. He should also consider turning the camera on himself and posting if he really supports our natural state. Or would that make him feel vulnerable?

  3. Leslie says:

    There is a difference between ‘slice of life’ and staged, a difference between candid and sensationalism. Clearly the potty and urinating on the tarmac were staged, as were others, it seems to me.

    The issue isn’t about ‘choosing life’ as the photographer so sanctimoniously states, because if that were true, various shots of his naked child would not have needed to be staged. Instead, it’s about using the trust and love that his daughter feels for him for his own personal gain.

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