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Thu May 24, 2012, 11:25 PM

Bare Breasts On Statue Offend Some at Arboretum

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — A statue at the Overland Park Arboretum is making some uncomfortable enough to complain, while others hope it makes people “think.”

Joanne Hughes saw the statue of a headless woman with her breasts exposed, taking a picture of herself, when she was with her two young daughters.

She thinks it’s in the wrong place, too provocative for families with young children who often spend time at the arboretum.

“The audience at the arboretum is not the appropriate audience for this piece of art. I feel like this belongs at an adult venue,” Hughes said.

http://fox4kc.com/2012/05/11/bare-breasts-on-statue-offend-some-at-arboretum/


Here's more info on her petition from the local tea party website:
http://www.politicalchips.org/profiles/blogs/inappropriate-sculpture-at-overland-park-arboretum-in-kansas?xg_source=activity

70 replies, 25429 views

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Reply Bare Breasts On Statue Offend Some at Arboretum (Original post)
proud2BlibKansan May 2012 OP
Marrah_G May 2012 #1
EvilAL May 2012 #8
Art_from_Ark May 2012 #15
stevenleser May 2012 #32
Egalitarian Thug May 2012 #36
Art_from_Ark May 2012 #68
Angleae May 2012 #69
Brother Buzz May 2012 #17
Shankapotomus May 2012 #22
snooper2 May 2012 #26
Shankapotomus May 2012 #27
Bucky May 2012 #63
Marrah_G May 2012 #48
annabanana May 2012 #31
stevenleser May 2012 #33
Marrah_G May 2012 #70
Egalitarian Thug May 2012 #37
PDJane May 2012 #2
applegrove May 2012 #3
HillWilliam May 2012 #30
applegrove May 2012 #47
Nevernose May 2012 #55
HarveyDarkey May 2012 #4
Comrade_McKenzie May 2012 #5
Major Nikon May 2012 #6
WillyT May 2012 #7
Major Nikon May 2012 #9
Uncle Joe May 2012 #10
RadiationTherapy May 2012 #21
Uncle Joe May 2012 #25
la la May 2012 #11
TroglodyteScholar May 2012 #12
cthulu2016 May 2012 #13
CTyankee May 2012 #14
cthulu2016 May 2012 #29
CTyankee May 2012 #44
cthulu2016 May 2012 #56
CTyankee May 2012 #57
cthulu2016 May 2012 #61
CTyankee May 2012 #66
Art_from_Ark May 2012 #16
Raine May 2012 #18
Suji to Seoul May 2012 #20
Suji to Seoul May 2012 #19
HughBeaumont May 2012 #23
proud2BlibKansan May 2012 #24
hunter May 2012 #28
spinbaby May 2012 #34
GoCubsGo May 2012 #35
Spazito May 2012 #38
cthulu2016 May 2012 #39
seabeyond May 2012 #40
Spazito May 2012 #41
stevenleser May 2012 #42
Spazito May 2012 #43
stevenleser May 2012 #46
cthulu2016 May 2012 #51
stevenleser May 2012 #65
CTyankee May 2012 #50
cthulu2016 May 2012 #49
Spazito May 2012 #52
TeeYiYi May 2012 #59
cthulu2016 May 2012 #60
CTyankee May 2012 #67
lunatica May 2012 #45
proud2BlibKansan May 2012 #53
Nevernose May 2012 #54
MatthewStLouis May 2012 #58
Rosa Luxemburg May 2012 #62
hyphenate May 2012 #64

Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Thu May 24, 2012, 11:27 PM

1. I find it rather disturbing also

The state of undress minus the head gives me the creeps

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Response to Marrah_G (Reply #1)

Thu May 24, 2012, 11:37 PM

8. I had to take second look,

before I realized she had no head....

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Response to EvilAL (Reply #8)

Fri May 25, 2012, 02:16 AM

15. Just like the entrance to the LA Coliseum

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Response to Art_from_Ark (Reply #15)

Fri May 25, 2012, 02:51 PM

32. Greek Olympic athletes in antiquity competed in the nude. This is probably an homage to that since

 

LA's stadium was built for the Olympics.

Edited to fix spelling issue

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #32)

Fri May 25, 2012, 03:06 PM

36. It was and is, and there were complaints from the same assholes

 

then. They wanted to clothe the statues for the Olympics so as not to sully LA's reputation as a bastion of constipation. I don't remember if they did it or not.

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #32)

Fri May 25, 2012, 10:30 PM

68. They might have competed without clothes

but they certainly competed with heads intact.

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #32)

Sat May 26, 2012, 03:45 AM

69. Actually it predates the olympics in L.A.

Both of them.

It's been renovated a couple times for them.

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Response to Marrah_G (Reply #1)

Fri May 25, 2012, 02:36 AM

17. I've seen tons of nude statues without heads, but...

very few sans midriff. I rather like the piece but it doesn't belong in an arboretum. I bet they find a better home for it.

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Response to Marrah_G (Reply #1)

Fri May 25, 2012, 07:18 AM

22. It looks highly suggestive of

the dismembered corpse of a rape victim. It suggests violence.

You're right, there's something disturbing about it.

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Response to Shankapotomus (Reply #22)

Fri May 25, 2012, 11:13 AM

26. Oh jesus fucking christ on a IPhone charger

 



Can you tell me what kind of dreams you have at night LOL

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Response to snooper2 (Reply #26)

Fri May 25, 2012, 11:32 AM

27. Well, the head is missing,

the arms are diced up in a counter displacement fashion, the blouse is pushed aside, nothing covering the lower extremities which also appears to be displaced at the hip area and it's in a park, a setting notorious for where female joggers are preyed upon. What other interpretation can one make??? Sorry if I ruined the art for you but I can't help it...LOL.

It says it's art. I'm not a novice to abstract art. I'm looking at the art and my unprocessed, instinctive feeling is "crime scene".

Btw, I'm not defending the prudes who have a problem with the breasts.

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Response to snooper2 (Reply #26)

Fri May 25, 2012, 06:19 PM

63. Not a great response to a critique of art

I'll bet if you were listening to a friend say that in person, you'd have responded a lot less rudely.

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Response to Shankapotomus (Reply #22)

Fri May 25, 2012, 04:51 PM

48. that was my thought as well

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Response to Marrah_G (Reply #1)

Fri May 25, 2012, 02:48 PM

31. A lot of Art is disturbing.

For some it is the very definition of "art".

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Response to annabanana (Reply #31)

Fri May 25, 2012, 02:55 PM

33. Guernica comes to mind. You are SUPPOSED to be disturbed by Guernica. That's the point.

 

Good post.

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Response to annabanana (Reply #31)

Sun May 27, 2012, 03:43 PM

70. I don't think it should be censored

I just find it really disturbing. My first thought is that she looks like the victim of violence.

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Response to Marrah_G (Reply #1)

Fri May 25, 2012, 03:08 PM

37. I'm pretty sure that's the point. Taking her own pic at a photo spot sans head...

 

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Thu May 24, 2012, 11:28 PM

2. Sigh..........this woman should just get over it.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Thu May 24, 2012, 11:29 PM

3. Someone once told me that, at the Vatican, one pope was offended by male genitalia on statues

so he had somebody with a hammer and a chisel go around and knock them off each statue. Don't know if it is true.

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Response to applegrove (Reply #3)

Fri May 25, 2012, 02:47 PM

30. That was mentioned in a History Channel (or was it NatGeo?) program I saw

fairly recently. The missing willies are kept in a drawer... which seems even creepier than just chiseling them off.

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Response to HillWilliam (Reply #30)

Fri May 25, 2012, 04:48 PM

47. LOL!

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Response to applegrove (Reply #3)

Fri May 25, 2012, 05:19 PM

55. I was told in the Vatican that that's only partly true

And that most of the extremities -- including arms and legs and willies -- just fell off naturally with age, gravity, and carelessness. One pope in the 19th century did decide that nudity was evil, but his attempts at smashing willies was exaggerated. Of course, it was a Vatican tour guide who told me this, so they had every reason to dissemble.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Thu May 24, 2012, 11:31 PM

4. That's what happens to your head after you make duck lips

 

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Thu May 24, 2012, 11:33 PM

5. I find it to be aesthetically pleasing.

 

I think some people just get offended at shit like this because they think they're supposed to be.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Thu May 24, 2012, 11:35 PM

6. Looks like Thinkpol is hard at work again

They pretend it's all for the "children." In reality their own behavior is far more damaging to children.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Thu May 24, 2012, 11:35 PM

7. So Who Was Offended... The Birch Or The Oak...

 


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Response to WillyT (Reply #7)

Thu May 24, 2012, 11:44 PM

9. Teabaggers who are dumb as a stump

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Thu May 24, 2012, 11:47 PM

10. Y'all need to come to Nashville and see our Musica Statue.





http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musica

Musica is Alan LeQuire's largest sculpture commission to date, and currently the largest sculpture group in the United States. It features nine nude figures, male and female, dancing in a circular composition approximately 38 feet (11.5 m) tall. There are five figures which spring forth from the base. Four more rise up in the center floating above the others. The pinnacle of the statue is a female holding a tambourine. The scale of each figure is fourteen to fifteen feet, or more than twice life-size. The dancers and part of the base are cast in bronze. The other part of the base is composed of massive natural limestone boulders, which are prevalent in the Nashville area.

(snip)

LeQuire writes of his work:

"Dance is the physical expression of music and the piece is intended to convey that feeling to the viewer in a composition which is simple, exuberant and celebratory. The theme of the sculpture is music, because of the historical and economic significance of the site. This is the heart of Music Row, the area and the artistic activity for which Nashville is best known. The sculpture conveys the importance of music to Nashville, past, present and future, and represents all forms of music without reference to any one form or style. It is meant to provide a visual icon for the area and for the city as a whole. The theme is music, but the sculpture represents artistic creativity itself. An artistic idea often seems to miraculously and spontaneously burst forth. This is what happens in the sculpture, and the title Musica suggests this since it refers to all the 'arts of the muses.'"

He also intended for the work to make a statement about Multiculturalism/diversity and racial harmony. Just as I wanted all different kinds of music included, not just country, I always wanted it to be a reflection of our culture the way it is, he said. This is a multicultural city with an amazing number of ethnicities in it. Using live models, whose facial and bodily features he depicted, LeQuire created two Caucasian women and one Caucasian man; an African-American man and woman; one Asian-American woman; a Native American man; and a Hispanic man and woman.




Thanks for the thread, proud2blibkansan.

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Response to Uncle Joe (Reply #10)

Fri May 25, 2012, 07:11 AM

21. No mention of Matisse and his 'Dance' painting?

It seems to be the inspiration for the sculpture.

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Response to RadiationTherapy (Reply #21)

Fri May 25, 2012, 11:10 AM

25. There is no doubt that Matisse was an influence

although it doesn't mention as such in the Wikipedia articles re: the statue or the artist.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_LeQuire

Alan LeQuire (born 1955) is an American sculptor from Nashville, Tennessee. Many of his sculptures are installed in the city.

LeQuire's father, Virgil, was a physician and researcher on the faculty of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. His mother, Louise, was a painter, art teacher, and writer. The young LeQuire showed an early interest in sculpture. While an undergraduate at Vanderbilt University, he studied independently under professor of sculpture Puryear Mims and Middle Tennessee State University sculptor Jim Gibson. He spent his senior year in France, studied art history, and earned a degree in English. After a year in Rome learning bronze casting as an assistant to New York artist Milton Hebald, LeQuire entered the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he earned a Master of Fine Arts degree.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Thu May 24, 2012, 11:57 PM

11. remember john ashcroft...

and his objection to bare breasted statues? lordy, lordy!

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Response to la la (Reply #11)

Fri May 25, 2012, 12:16 AM

12. Good thing he got it taken care of...

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Fri May 25, 2012, 01:06 AM

13. I am a civil liberties fanatic and porn apologist...

and this really is not very appropriate for a public park.

It's not the matter of anatomy. And it's not necessarily the bare breats either. The lack of pants is more noteworthy, in the overall conception of the piece.

The work is clearly conceived as erotic in nature—as erotica or as a (bogus) commentary on erotica. It's a (gimmicky) fragmentation of a sexting photo, and conceived as such.

I'll defend it all day long as human expression, but people questioning it being appropriate to a park are not out of line. And any women saying it's a creepy piece to have in a park have a point also.

Nobody should be arrested or burned st the stake. The work should not be harmed in any way. It is probably way above average erotic sculpture. But if the park decides to pass on accepting the donation it wouldn't mark them as Cotton Mather.



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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #13)

Fri May 25, 2012, 02:08 AM

14. I do not question as being "appropriate." I would hope it would engage the viewer in a

series of questions about the artist's meaning. To me that is far more important.

Actually, I do not know what an "appropriate" work of art for a park is...what do you think it is?

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Response to CTyankee (Reply #14)

Fri May 25, 2012, 02:39 PM

29. I would say that an artwork that makes a lot of visitors feel

like they should be someplace else is not desirable for a public space.

If this were just an anatomically correct sculpture of a standing female nude I would feel differently, but it's a coarsely eroticized work.

Public art isn't a matter of good and evil. It's about the general attitudes of people who will be using the public space.

Some weirdo will get the vapors over anything, so the question is whether something is uncomfortable for a lot of folks who are not professional outrage peddlers, and in my experience with art and public attitudes I see this as over the line.

The comfort line, not a line of morality.

(In Chacago they are erecting a 60-foot tall statue of Marilyn Monroe with her skirt blowing up, and for a long time it was just hers legs. Incredibly non-prudish female friends in Chicago said it disturbed them and made them feel uncomfortable walking to work... the dismemebered female form seems to make a lot of women feel ill-at-ease.)

I would predict that the majority of visitors attending this park with children would have a negative reaction, not just a few puritans.

And perhaps they are wrong to do so... but it's a park. Should someone need avant-garde attitudes to be comfortable in a park, or is a park aimed at a broad swath of the public?

If the work was in a museum that would be different because a museum has different expectations than the outdoors. And a private gallery has different expepctations than a public museum... and so on.

Again, that's not a moral rule. It's a general public attitude guideline.

I have been involved on the other side of some public art controversies. I think public art is usually way too cautious and innocuous.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #29)

Fri May 25, 2012, 04:21 PM

44. I don't have too many expectations about art in public spaces, altho I do kind of like

St. Gaudens stuff in NYC.

LOL, it seems that all throughout time art work has been hauled down, burned, banned, etc so it is not surprising that this particular sculpture is probably going to meet a similar fate. I tend to look at it and try to get the artist's perspective rather than that of the public, which you have articulately presented. And it is in Kansas, not where I would expect the cutting edge to be, artwise (tho I don't want to sell the state short since I am not knowledgeable about that at all).

I have to laugh when I remember how back in 1981, in art savvy Manhattan, poor Richard Serra's "Tilted Arc" was dismantled and hauled away from a public plaza because of disgruntled New Yorkers complaints (tho that was more about their inconveniences rather than nudity).

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Response to CTyankee (Reply #44)

Fri May 25, 2012, 05:25 PM

56. I saw a "curator" take a chainsaw to the penis of a statue once.

The artist ( a friend) installed the piece, a wood carving of a male figure, in the park overnight, and it had... irronically... "wood."

Since the sculpture was too big for her to move the curator of the exhibition in the park took a chainsaw to the piece.

No harm should come to the arboretum sculpture, of course. It will end up in a museum or something.

But it's a bit much for a park in Kansas.

Half of the artwork I have ever done was probably a bit much for a park in Kansas too.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #56)

Fri May 25, 2012, 05:33 PM

57. Nothing like art to make people crazy!

wow, middle of the night with a chainsaw! That's brave...

Could you pm me with some photos of your art? I'd be honored if you would...

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Response to CTyankee (Reply #44)

Fri May 25, 2012, 06:07 PM

61. Here's a great story about why public art sucks

A friend who is an excellent sculptor used to compete for commissions for outdoor pieces for new buildings.

One was an office building near a metro station and he proposed a monumental statue of a generic white-collar working woman. Very generic face and figure and business attire.

This was 1991, 1992.

At the architectural review meeting when he revealed the model the first reaction was a guy exclaiming, "Just what we need. An Anita Hill monument."


???

It seems that any representation of a human being is too controversial.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #61)

Fri May 25, 2012, 08:45 PM

66. Well, you know, everyone is going to have their own interpretation of public art!

Because it's "out there'!"

That is what is so tough about it, don't you think?

I sometimes think what it must be like to live in Florence, Italy, with its public art always out there for everyone to see. Or Rome with those damn fountains in the Piazza Navone...hard to take on those poor people...

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #13)

Fri May 25, 2012, 02:25 AM

16. It's not erotic to me

No way, no how. The dismemberment of body parts creeps me out.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Fri May 25, 2012, 03:12 AM

18. I don't object to the nudity but I find it creepy and unattractive. It probably gives kids

nightmares, that's why I would have doubts about it belonging in a family setting.

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Response to Raine (Reply #18)

Fri May 25, 2012, 04:31 AM

20. yet the NFL is a family setting and that's three hours of men trying to cripple themselves

 

bare breasts in family setting = bad!
intense violence = good!

I love our priorities.

As South Park said: "Horrific, deplorable violence is okay so long as you use no naughty words."

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Fri May 25, 2012, 04:29 AM

19. very provocative. i like it.

 

it says to me that society views women as all body and no brain while alot of women will accept that with self abuse (the self photo of herself with no head naked).

Anyone offended. . .good! This is a wonderful piece of art!

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Fri May 25, 2012, 07:31 AM

23. Oh Jesus Tap-Dancing CHRIST.

I thought we left the whole "Nudity is dirty, filthy, scummy, shameful SMUT SMUT SMUT!!!1!!" thing back in the 1980s. Guess not.

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Response to HughBeaumont (Reply #23)

Fri May 25, 2012, 10:42 AM

24. John Ashcroft brought it back.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Fri May 25, 2012, 11:33 AM

28. When Rick was assigned to the Captain's landing party his shirt was red and he was made of meat.

Looks like the transporter needs a tune-up, Commander Scot...



http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2008/04/star-trek-red-s

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Fri May 25, 2012, 02:56 PM

34. I'm offended

I'm totally against ugly art in parks and I think that's ugly art. I don't care that it's a naked lady, I'd just prefer an attractive naked lady with a midsection and some meat on her bones.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Fri May 25, 2012, 02:59 PM

35. I cannot help but be reminded of an old SNL skit.

Last edited Fri May 25, 2012, 06:26 PM - Edit history (1)

From back in the days when Jesse Helms was trying to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts, or as he would say, "Orts".

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Fri May 25, 2012, 03:14 PM

38. Very interesting albeit startling statue...

and it's not the bare breasts, to me, that is startling and compelling. I don't have an opinion on whether it should be where it is but I have to say I have been drawn to come back to this thread a few times to view the picture of the statue and, in each re-visit, I see a different perspective and it becomes more powerful, more complex each time I view it.

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Response to Spazito (Reply #38)

Fri May 25, 2012, 03:23 PM

39. There is a large photo of it

Last edited Fri May 25, 2012, 06:16 PM - Edit history (1)

but the link doesn't work on DU because it has an * in it.

Google Overland Park Arboretum Nude, go to images and it's one of the first few results. It's a 3MB jpg and you can really get a sense of the thing.

It is striking.

But the bare breasts are far from the first thing I notice. And they are not just "bare breasts," they are bare breast implants with puffy nipples... the sculpture is quite intentionally about pornographic imagery, and in particular, "sexting" photos. It's a statute of a woman taking an erotic picture of herself, and her body is fragmented and cropped in the way amateur sexting photos usually are. Including the decapitation by cropping.

The idea of a rectangular frame is forced into her physical structure.

Also, she has no midsection. She really is reduced to tits and ass (and protruding pudenda). I am all for tits and ass... just noting that the work is intentionally eroticized.

I get the work. I do not, however, think it is a sensible work for a public space. There is a distinction in our culture between nudity and overtly eroticized nudity, relative to public spaces.

And whether that distinction is correct or incorrect, it is so nearly universal that in thinking what makes sense for a wide audience in a park I think this is in the inappropriate category. Not evil, just inappropriate to its setting and use.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #39)

Fri May 25, 2012, 03:29 PM

40. you spelled it out very well. nt

 

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #39)

Fri May 25, 2012, 03:46 PM

41. I did as you suggested and get your point on...

the "puffy nipples" aspect and don't disagree that the Arboretum might not be the place for this statue. I also understand how one can see it as erotica but I have a somewhat different take on it which I will try and put into words.

Because the camera is focused on the head area and there is no head and the clear fragmentation of the arms, my thoughts went more to how sometimes we, the generic we, can sometimes view ourselves through a distorted 'lens' which can, in turn, give us an untrue picture of ourselves where we lose the real 'us' hence the missing head.

I think, given each of us can interpret this statue very differently it speaks as to how complex and compelling it is.

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Response to Spazito (Reply #41)

Fri May 25, 2012, 04:09 PM

42. The curator said that the sculpture is meant to convey the idea that the person

 

is so concerned with their body that it is as if her head doesnt exist.

So it is a commentary on narcissim and superficiality. Seen with one's kids, those, along with the idea of healthy self image, are probably pretty important modern issues to discuss. It's probably also a good starting point for a discussion on what kinds of photographs should/should not be taken and placed on the internet.

Or we can default to the idea that any depiction of a woman's breast is automatically erotic and for that purpose only and turn off our minds to any other possibility.

If the idea that the breasts and/or nipples are somewhat ideally shaped causes an issue for some, I would point them to Greek sculptors of antiquity who tended to do the same thing with the entire bodies of both men and women. Do we need to take those sculptures out of museums because children might see them?

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #42)

Fri May 25, 2012, 04:18 PM

43. You make some very good points...

and thanks for the information on the sculptor and the message he was trying to convey through the statue, much appreciated. I, too, think the statue and it's message could be a 'teaching moment' for parents and others who view it on the issue of healthy self image and how easily society, the media, etc, can cause all too many to view themselves through a 'distorted lens'.

I am still unsure as to whether the Arboretum is the best placement, I am glad it's not my decision to make.

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Response to Spazito (Reply #43)

Fri May 25, 2012, 04:37 PM

46. Well, would these be OK for a park/Arboretum?

 








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Response to stevenleser (Reply #46)

Fri May 25, 2012, 05:07 PM

51. We assess public comfort in terms of public comfort

This is not a criminal pornography trial where insertion is categorically insertion or a penis is categorically a penis.

Such literal content distinctions have little to do with how people, in general, react to a work.

Can we see David's weiner? Yes.

Would people react differently to the work if he was hung to the knee? Yes. If he was erect? Yes.

Would people react differently to this sculpture?



Yes.

Is it hypocrisy for people to react to this classical male nude differently? No.

This is not a discussion of law. In law rigid definition is a necessity. In a question of general appropriateness in the public sphere cannot be defined or quantified. It is a matter that determines itself.

What is key is to be sure that there is broad public discomfort, not merely a few loud crack-pots.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #51)

Fri May 25, 2012, 08:00 PM

65. Using your criteria, we shouldnt have an issue with this sculpture.

 

The woman's breasts are not particularly large. Given the camera and artist commentary, they are not on display for purient reasons.

This is analogous to the statue of David as opposed to one with a large or erect penis. Again I am using your logic to evaluate this sculpture.

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #42)

Fri May 25, 2012, 04:54 PM

50. well, that was my thought when I realized she was holding a camera on herself.

Having a conversation about what it means. The concept of narcissism. The "perfect" breasts obviously meant to convey plastic surgery. The distortion of the body part by part.

But don't hold your breath on this. I'll bet you anything it gets "acquired" by a local museum and further unpleasantness will be avoided.

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Response to Spazito (Reply #41)

Fri May 25, 2012, 04:53 PM

49. Offered for Contrast:

This is among my favorite post WWII American paintings, Andrew Wyeth's The Virgin. It is at the Brandywine River Museum but they seldom exhibit it because it gives people vapors.



The model, Siri Erikson, is about 13 in the picture. Anyone who tried to denounce it as child pornography (as some surely would, not knowing the definition) would be a maliscious philistine.

And anyone who said it's too dirty for general audiences would be saying that boobs and public hair are intrinsically dirty, because it's pretty damn understated. Myself, I have no categorical issue with nudity. I admire the heck out of nudists. (My favorite fringe-lifestyle group)

It is a scandal to me that a museum does not regularly display the best painting they own by the guy the museum was built to showcase simply because they get a lot of school trips and most of their money comes from stuffy old Delaware valley ladies.

That said, it is an erotic painting in many ways. It is not a clinical study of human musculature, it is a portrait of the unaffected pubescent beauty of an immigrant farm girl, and that beauty has an erotic dimension.

But it is not aggressively provocative in the way the sculpture under discussion is, and it is not based on or about the tropes of contemporary pornography. And I think many people feel differently about different things based on such traits.

I am posting this as an example of what I see as a fine line. This painting should be on permanent exhibition at the Brandywine, IMO, but I can see that it would make people uncomfortable if hung at the post office. And nobody goes to the post office for a teachable moment or to examine contradictions in their own sexual attitudes or whatever. They go to buy stamps.

As to what is appropriate for an Arboretum? I guess it depends on what people who use the space think. The test of what is socially appropriate is subjective, and about society itself.

But society, not a few loud crack-pots. Our standards shouldn't be lowest common denominator. (What Lenny Bruce called, "Dirty in the eyes of the most corruptible member of society."


If they get enough complaints from people who are not obviously recreational trouble-makers they remove it. If not, they won't. Pretty much the same way anyplace decides what users of the space like or dislike.

(This whole conversation is funny because I am one of the most strident defenders of erotica on DU, but also feel strongly that the public sphere is distinct from the full range of expressive speech. I think that people should, within reason, be able to exist in a relatively desexualized sphere, or seek out an entirely sexualized sphere. The public sphere should try to function well for everybody, even people with some different attitudes than mine.)

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #49)

Fri May 25, 2012, 05:13 PM

52. It is an interesting contrast...

I find beauty in the human form in it's pure state, both female and male, some of which I find can be definitively erotica while others not. When it comes to art, be it paintings, sculptures, etc, I do think placement, especially when it comes to more complex pieces involving the nude human form, is an important consideration if it is not to be misunderstood due to society's mores which are, as we know, transitory in nature over time but heartfelt by many while it exists as the prevailing view.

I also find this conversation quite ironic as I, as my adult children can attest, tend to lean more toward what some might call a little bit prudish when it comes to issues of erotica and pornography yet here I am, lol.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #49)

Fri May 25, 2012, 05:53 PM

59. 13? No way. More like 17 or 18. ...nt

TYY

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Response to TeeYiYi (Reply #59)

Fri May 25, 2012, 06:02 PM

60. Actually 15. I misremembered.

Wyeth met her in 1967 when she was 13, which is what I was remembering. But the Virgin and Sauna were both done in 1969.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #49)

Fri May 25, 2012, 09:00 PM

67. I have hesitated, in some of my Challenge threads, to post images of art that is

obviously of exploited young girls. I think this walks the line, being that she is 13. Not that is is at all "dirty." Not at all. I just wonder if it is exploitation of a child. I rejected posting the image of a Boucher painting in one of my Friday Afternoon Challenges of a young girl who became one of the mistresses of Louis the 14th because of that.

It is a close call and not easy, IMO. this painting does not attempt to do anything but present this girl. Unlike the Boucher, she is not posed in a sexualized pose. If anything, she is decidedly NOT being posed that way. She has a decisive pose.

there is nudity and there is nudity. When Victorine Meurent posed for Manet's "Olympia" she returns the "male gaze" with a decisive gaze of her own. I have learned that she was a lesbian and had her own ideas about her sexuality and I love that. Her pose takes on a new meaning.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #39)

Fri May 25, 2012, 04:24 PM

45. I agree with your commentary

It's very interesting to look at and study. My first impression was that it's a depiction of a robot playing out a role as a human woman. Not as a woman who is sexual or as a nude or semi nude. Funny how perceptions are.

but I think it not only doesn't belong in a park, but that it's a ridiculous waste of energy to put it there. It belongs in an art venue with other modern sculpture. The reaction to it would be completely different, which is also a very interesting idea to explore.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Fri May 25, 2012, 05:14 PM

53. This editorial is hilarious.

And I completely agree. This outrage is just silly. It's art, people.

I just heard! There is outrage at the Overland Park arboretum! Quick, shield the eyes of your youngsters. Was it a turtle that fell out of her shell without the appropriate undershirt on? No! Was it a mother bunny nursing her baby bunnies without the appropriate covering to hide herself from the public? No! Was it the female chipmunk that didn’t run fast enough from one rock to another exposing her naked self to innocent bystanders? No, it wasn’t even that.

It was breasts of the female, human species. Unlike nature that is uncovered, these breasts must be covered immediately! This according to people who are outraged that a statue in the statue garden at the Overland Park arboretum have been complaining about a statue that has exposed female breasts! Quick hide your eyes at natural body parts of the human species displayed in nature. The outrage, the horror, the damaged eyes of our innocent children….

If you haven’t Googled it yet, the statue is of a body of a female with breasts exposed holding a camera and it looks like she is taking a picture of her exposed breasts. Some of the outrage is around the “glorification” of taking photos of your naked body. I heard criticism around the fact that this is encouraging our young people to engage in this activity and “sext” these pictures.

Hold on people. Just hold the outrage for a quick sec. See, the camera in the statue is that, a camera. If kids are “sexting” I think they are using the iPhone that you, as parents, have provided for them. Not a camera. That is very old school. So shame on you parents, not the statue, for purchasing the devices that these kids are sexting on.

Second, I’m not a parenting expert or anything, but here is how I would deflect any glorification provided by the statue for sexting. “Suzy, if you think it’s cool to take a picture of your breasts and sext them to anyone, check out this statue. See, the statue doesn’t have a head. That’s what could happen to you if you sext. You could also turn to stone and end up for eternity standing in an arboretum with everyone looking at your boobies with no head.” Trust me; the thought of the public looking at my daughter’s breasts in a public place for eternity is enough to scare her to death. My child is mortified at the idea of changing in her bathing suit in a public locker room. Also, my daughter is pretty attached to her head.


Read more here: http://voices.kansascity.com/entries/breasts-at-the-arboretum/#storylink=cpy

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Fri May 25, 2012, 05:15 PM

54. Wait: women have nipples, too?!?

Why didn't somebody tell me before? What will my wife and daughter think when I tell them that women have nipples? Who's responsible for putting this sort of extreme nipple-based perversion in a public area, a place where FAMILIES might walk past it and discover, probably for the first time ever, that other people (including women!) have nipples?

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Fri May 25, 2012, 05:35 PM

58. Whoa! Careful, some kid might poke his eye out! /nt

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Fri May 25, 2012, 06:15 PM

62. most women have breasts but they usually have heads

bit scary without the head

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Fri May 25, 2012, 06:25 PM

64. I support the right of the artist

to express themselves any damn way they want. Freedom of expression. Period. If the kids have a problem, the parents should teach them about classical art. Rubens, Rembrandt, Michaelangelo. I would fight tooth and nail if I were there to make sure the artist's work remain as is. Idiots and morons shouldn't be allowed to desecrate any artist's work. EVER.

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