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Michael Stipe Doesn’t Mind Showing Off His Penis in His Art

Michael Stipe
Chris Jackson , Getty Images

Former R.E.M. singer and current visual artist Michael Stipe has strung together “ten thousand or so” still photographs and assorted images on his official MichaelStipe.com website to create what he calls a “moving film” that loops back around to the beginning after about 22 minutes of watching. Abstract art form or self-obsessed vanity project — to be perfectly honest, we’re not quite sure what to make of it.

One thing we do know for certain, however, is that if you stare at the collection of images flashing by for long enough, you will eventually see Stipe’s penis. This, not surprisingly, has brought a bit of extra publicity to the site, although it seems Stipe himself couldn’t care less.

“I mean, I guess, there was a little more chatter about it than I expected,” Stipe tells Bullett. “I looked at it as an art piece. Of course I knew that people might freeze frame, but if people want to look at my penis, I don’t have a problem with that.”

Stipe also insists that the very form taken by the art piece, which caused the site to post a “contains nudity and adult themes” warning with an over-18 age requirement to continue viewing, is an abstract statement about its own demise. Adds Stipe: “With new technologies, everything is manipulatable and the still image is beginning to — like many other things, with the advent of digital and existing technologies — disappear.”

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