So apparently there exists a 15-minute-long movie of John Lennon’s penis slowly becoming erect. He and Yoko called it Self Portrait and exhibited it to the public today at London’s New Cinema Club at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, along with four other short films: Mr. & Mrs. Lennon’s Honeymoon, Rape, Smile and Two Virgins.

I am, to be honest, rather relieved to report that Self Portrait does not seem to be on the interwebs. I may not have looked that hard. Probably the intrepid and determined scholar could lay his hands on it, so to speak. But I am not that person. It’s conceptual art, anyway; the actual watching is not the point. Critic Philip French described it thusly:

One film had the camera simply staring at Lennon’s penis. Lasting some 40 minutes [sic] (it seemed like an eternity), it focused upon the unaided tumescence and detumescence of his member, reaching some sort of climax with a pearl-like drop of semen. 

John and Yoko were not personally at the screening, says The Beatles Bible, but “two people sat in a white bag beneath the screen at the ICA throughout the evening, leading many to believe the couple was actually present.” This was one of the smarter strategies that the Ono Lennons employed during this period: Given that they had once made a public appearance in a bag, any bag of a sufficient size could theoretically have them inside. According to the laws of quantum physics, until being opened, every such bag must be considered both to contain and not to contain John and Yoko.

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