Penis Landscape

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Penis Landscape

Penis Landscape, or Work 219: Landscape XX, is a painting by H. R. Giger. Created in 1973, airbrushed acrylic on paper-covered wood, it measures 70 by 100 centimetres (28 by 39 in). It depicts a number of penises entering vaginas, arranged in an alternating pattern. One is wearing a condom. It came to a greater level of attention during the trial of vocalist Jello Biafra after his band the Dead Kennedys featured it as a poster included with their 1985 album Frankenchrist.

The choice of the painting came as the result of a comment by Jello Biafra to his then roommate Dead Kennedy's artist, Jayed Scotti, art partners with Winston Smith. Biafra showed Scotti a copy of Omni magazine showing several works of art by Giger, including "Penis Landscape", printed in 1977, for a Paris art collection. Biafra said he wanted to use the piece on the upcoming album cover. Scotti phoned New York agent Les Barany and explained the project. Barany contacted Giger to ask permission, then contacted Mike Bonanno of Alternative Tentacles Records; Giger agreed to let the label use a reproduction chrome of the artwork for $600, half the usual price. Biafra presented the idea to the other members of the band, but the idea was rejected as the album cover and as an interior gatefold double LP album. Finally it was accepted as an inserted poster.

Jayed Scotti created the production mechanicals by hand for the poster. The poster was printed and inserted in the Frankenchrist album with an additional sticker on the outside shrinkwrap, warning buyers of the contents. The resulting trial for obscenity nearly drove the Alternative Tentacles label into bankruptcy.[1]

During the making of the Kiss video for "(You Make Me) Rock Hard" in 1988, when the production went in for close ups, it was found that Gene Simmons' had this painting laminated on the front of his bass guitar. Despite Production's call over the radio for band-aids, none Gene's close-up shots that included his bass guitar were acceptable for MTV. The band-aids can be seen in the music video[2] in medium shots.


  1. ^ Wishnia, Steven. "Of Punk and Pornography: Rockin' With the First Amendment". The Nation. October 24, 1987.
  2. ^

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