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"Accept or Reject" - Art? or Not

I live in Johnson County, Kansas.  Overland Park, Kansas to be exact.  It is in the middle of the country.  It is very nice here.  Voted one of the best places to live in the country as ranked by CNN Money.  It is clean, affordable, good schools, little traffic, great shopping and very nice homes.  Sounds great, unless you are into art.

I grew up in NYC, probably the capital of snooty art, and culture.  I went to school in NYC.  I used to go to some of the best museums in the country.  I miss looking at cool, interesting, thought provoking art.  Here in Johnson County, our art consist of new model homes and the newest models of minivans and SUVs.  We are a community that likes to buys their art at the Ramada hotel when the starving artist sales comes to town.  We don't have a whole lot of art or culture here, or do we?

We have an Arboretum in Overland Park.  It is nice and very family friendly.  Recently they have placed some sculptures out in the gardens for all to enjoy.  You must be thinking, great, the outdoors, beautiful nature and beautiful art to look at.  What a great idea.  Let me show you what they put in.


Yes, it is a headless, bare breasted, undressed female form with awesome porn like exposed nipples taking a picture of herself.  The artist is trying to comment on how "This woman is choosing to take pictures of only part of herself, deleting her own identity."  Sounds good to me, it is very deep and serious, and I can appreciate that, but all I can focus on are the perfect erect nipples and boobs.

The piece is very controversial.  There are people who want it to be removed from the Arboretum because it offends them and their kids.  The art was donated to the city, so it was free.  I think the Arboretum has seen quite an uptick in admission once this went in.  I am sure it was mostly men and teenage boys, but that is fine.  Admission is admission.  By the way, it is free to get in, so it doesn't make any more money to have more people there.

Some parents are calling this obscene.  I don't agree.  I think it is art.  Is the art titillating?  It is definitely "tit"a lating.  Is it thought provoking?  Maybe.  Is it obscene?  I don't think so.  If we put two babies sucking on her breasts,  would that make it ok?  The artist wanted you to be shocked and to talk about the sculpture and I think this piece does exactly that.  Art is meant to challenge and provoke thought, not just be pretty and passive.

Is the Arboretum the best place for this?  Probably not.  But I would argue that it is the right place for it because it exposes the type of person that is never exposed to any sort of thought provoking art.  They go to the mall and buy the newest Dogs playing Poker painting and think that is high art.

Many people out there already think Kansas is filled with farmers trying to avoid tornadoes while gathered around a book burning bon fire singing hymns.  I hope they don't live up to all the stereotypes and remove this sculpture.  We may live out in the middle of the country with farms and cows and tornadoes, but now we also have a world class piece of art to argue over, and not every city in America can say that.

53 comments:

  1. it is art in the wrong venue simple as that. Not sure what they were thinking lol

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  2. Great points (ha ha... get it points... nipples) But seriously folks, the bear breasted metal sculpture is getting the attention it deserves. It is causing people to talk, argue, debate and THINK! Thinking is good. And for those that are horrified by their children seeing bare metal breasts - is it any worse than what they see on TV every day? Is it any worse than going to the local pool and seeing the MILF's trying to impress the other MILF's? I think not.

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  3. Seriously, all you can focus on are the boobs?
    Children were offended? You realize and remember that children are born with a more balanced appreciation for boobs, right?

    I'm disturbed that all people can think about is her nakedness. What *I* saw was the deconstruction of the body; why's no one harping about that? I found that much more disturbing than her state of undress. Perhaps we have forgotten that Michaelangelo's David is equally naked, in pretty glorious detail thank you. Full frontal, I might add.

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    1. Very true! I guess it is pretty telling that a sculpture of a woman with no head and dismembered body parts is being talked about because of her boobs!

      BTW I Love me some David! Grrrrowwwwllllll

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    2. Thank you. I was thinking the exact same thing. I hadn't even noticed that her chest was exposed until I read the paragraph beneath.

      At first, I actually thought the image had loaded incorrectly or something to that effect due to the sheer provocativeness of the sculpture. And there are countless nude sculptures around the world in which the exposed area is FAR from the focus of the piece.

      I guess it's in the character of the immature to say "Tee hee... boobs" rather than admire this.

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    3. Here in Texas, we cover up David's naughty bits, too: http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Politics-seen-in-duel-over-David-s-fig-leaf-With-2085153.php

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  4. I rather like this piece, in a technology based society with most teens being self absorbed I think this says something along the lines that 'by being so self absorbed you are broken'. Should it be displayed in a family friendly atmosphere, probably not but really seems no different than taking kids on a field trip to the zoo and watching the apes toy with their own genitals.

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    1. I agree. All you have to do is look at Facebook to see how many women take pictures of themselves that place all if the emphasis on their chest. Should the sculpture bother people? Yes, but not because it is obscene...because it is an accurate depiction of real life.

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  5. Two things--
    According to the park's stated rules, "You must have a permit for portrait photography/filming. Nature photography does not require a permit as long as there are no people in the photos." So is she (the sculpture) breaking the rules? :)
    And was the artist a man or a woman? I made the assumption that it was a man because it's a headless woman. Despite the artist's claimed "deep meaning", to me it just looks like another ignorant man's fantasy of getting the boobs without having to deal with the brains. That doesn't mean it isn't art, though... in an inappropriate setting.

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    1. Nature photography does not need a permit if no humans are in the picture? Are we suddenly not a part of the natural world? Yea, the artist was a man getting the boobs without the brains..please..get a hold of yourself.. someone put all this thought and work into this piece so he could show some boobs?..I suppose breast feeding women in public really have some nerve!...The piece's intent is so true to form...we woman all hate parts of ourselves...how many times have you dressed or had your picture taken where you try to hide the parts you don't like?...you're a woman,
      "Anonymous"...its obvious...start hanging out with people who accept you for what and who you are...a naturally made human with imperfections...just like the rest of us....

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    2. Okay, the first part of my comment was a joke... perhaps not a good one, but the quote was from the rules and regulations of the park.
      As for the rest of your comment... um what? How did you get from my comment that I don't hang out with people who accept me for who I am? And that I'm opposed to breastfeeding? My comment was coming from a feminist perspective. I have no problem with nudity in art or breastfeeding in public.

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  6. I think it's a great piece, in just the right venue. On any old street corner, people would see it whether they chose to or not, and I could see objecting to that (though I wouldn't agree). But people CHOOSE to go to the arboretum and therefore choose to expose themselves to this art. And it's free admission, giving it the widest audience possible. (There are plenty of bare breasts in all kinds of art. Get over it, people!!)

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    1. I agree!! If it were standing out in the open and people were forced to look at it all the time whether they wanted to or not, then I could see an issue. However, as you point out, people choose to go there (whether to look only at the statue or not--since that seems to be part of the debate) therefore making it viewable only to those who wander in. In fact, the arboretum placed two warning signs at the entrance that read: “Some pieces include a display of the human body and parental guidance is encouraged.”

      There is your warning. If you don't want your children to see things like this, don't bring them in. In fact, do yourself a favor and never let them leave the house or watch TV again for the rest of their lives. Because, anyone with common sense knows that there are much worse things in more public, everyday places than this that children are exposed to (inadvertently or not--whether the parents realize it or not).

      http://rantingsofamouthybitch.blogspot.com/

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  7. Love it. Leave it where it is and let it remain controversial. That means that the artists intent is achieved. It's being thought about, talked about and looked at by many who would have never done so before. Wrong venue? Who's to say there is a right venue for art. That's why art is art. If they lose their spines and cave I'll take it.

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  8. Art is in the eye of thebeholder. I agree it may not be in the right venue, but sometimes that impacts the effect.
    That said, its 2012...get over it, people ....toilet paper commercials have become way to personal...
    I myself am an artist, but truly that in no way has affected, encouraged, or changed my opinion of the human body. The human body is amazing. Immature men will still goggle, stiff shirts will still put their noses up..Venus still stands, Michealangelo's work are coveted masterpieces.
    I like this, I like the thought behind it. She may appear a bit disjointed, but its the minds and eyes viewing it.

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  9. I disagree that "art is meant to challenge and provoke thought, not just be pretty and passive." This is a blanket statement. SOME "art is meant to challenge and provoke thought. Some art is meant to evoke emotion. Some art is meant to be beautiful, and there is nothing wrong with that.

    I also think some artists create art that is meant to offend. I can't appreciate that kind of art. Any action for this purpose is mean-spirited, and I don't like it. That being said, I don't know what this artist meant, but I am offended by this statue. Thanks for the warning. I won't take my family there.

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    1. I think you're confusing "art" and "decoration": art IS meant to challenge and provoke while DECORATION is meant to be pretty and passive. And the article states the artist's intentions; how can you not know what she meant?

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  10. WARNING WARNING! SPOLIER ALERT! METAL BREASTS IN PARK !

    ALL CLOSE MINDED PEOPLE OFFENDED BY A DEPICTION OF THEMSELVES IN NATURAL FORM PLEASE TURN AROUND AND GO HOME.

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  11. It's art!

    Have you been to Crystal Bridges in Bentonville, AR? It's only 3 hours from you and it's a world class art museum that just opened in Nov 2011 by Alice Walton.

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  12. I see it as one of those sculptures that will be rubbed for good luck. I don't need to point out which parts will probably shine from all of the rubbing.

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    1. That's what I was thinking!! Those nipples are going to be able to glow in the dark they'll be so shiny.
      Shiny nipples...I just cracked myself up,lol.

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  13. I just finished taking a class about bullying and this artist is right on. Women and girls are constantly faced with images of sexuality in many forms; 12 year olds wear Victoria Secret underwear to schools, videos, sexting. Yes, most parents do the best they know how but really most don't have a clue. I think most people who are "offended" by this don't have a clue what young people are faced with. This is a true depiction of many young girls and the choices that they face. Bravo to your city.

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  14. I think it's art but I disagree with the placement. I would rather my daughter see a full on nude in a natural state than this piece because at first glance I interpret it as objectifying (the way the breasts are exposed, pieces missing, taking a picture), but if I saw it in a gallery I would enjoy it (especially after reading the artist's intent).

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  15. The artist left the head off because he's working on sculpting the perfect duck-lips face, and he's trolling MySpace right now to find it.

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  16. This is most definitely art and good art at that. Art does not have to be beautiful, it should make use of symbolism or allegory to make a statement or tell a story in some way. Good art makes people think. Good art should disturb a person out of their complacent and comfortable thought bubble. This piece clearly is making a statement about the objectivication of women's bodies through visual media, how it chops them up into little bits, usually the sexually specific bits, and totally de-personalizes them (the missing face and head).

    That said, having this in a public place is definitely a controversial setting. However, these kinds of images are ALL OVER our visual media - movie posters in the mall, commercials on TV, print ads in the local Wal Mart games department, all of which are JUST AS PUBLIC as this piece. So, I would have to say that part of the message and content of this piece is it's very public location. The message would be diminished in any more private setting.

    And, no, I would not mind seeing it with my kids (ages 5 & 7) if we came upon it. We'd talk about it's message and what it means to them in their lives. Nude bodies are not dirty or something of which to be ashamed. Depersonalization and objectivication of humans beings is much more shameful.

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  17. To each his own when it comes to "art". All I have to say is that it is in the WRONG venue. That should not be in a public park. I wouldn't want my kids to see that or Michaelango's David either. My daughter is too young to see that and my boys are teenagers (not the appropriate thing for surging hormones). Inappropriate. In a museum, yeah, ok, but not park. Some people just don't have common sense. Erotic pictures are art as well, I still don't want my kids looking at it until they are mature enough. That's my opinion.

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  18. I agree that this is art, but it's definitely in the wrong place. I visit the OP Arboretum often and it's a peaceful, family-oriented park environment, not somewhere I would hope or expect to see controversial. The nudeness isn't an issue for me, but the way it is objectified and exaggerated (you'll poke an eye out with those things!) is inappropriate for children.

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  19. To the folks complaining about the placement of this piece, its free admission, the park won't miss you or your close minded opinions, so for all of you who continue about why you and your children won't be going, you're just wasting your breath.
    And I read a comment about not letting your child see David. Seriously? Sheltered kids usually turn out FANTASTIC....right, because not helping them mature will probably really help you when its time for "the talk". I went to uptight Catholic private schools from preschool to Jr high and they actually taught us to appreciate the beauty behind pieces like David.
    Maybe its just me but I feel like underexposing my sons to pieces of art like this and David is what would cause them to be the 16 year old jerks sitting in the back of a classroom sounding like Bevis and Butthead... "Uhh huhuh boobs uhhh".

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    1. They're grooming their kids for the next season of Teen Mom.

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    2. I'm guessing that none of those parents take their kids to the Atkins Art Museum. Or if they do, do they carry a blindfold with them to cover their precious little children's eyes so they are not polluted with images of nakedness?? Funny, the schools in Johnson County must have different opinions, since all of my children have been taken to Atkins. And I have no problem with that, I'm not going to raise them in a bubble and then expect them to not be ill prepared for the real world when they're in it.

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  20. It's art. There are lots of nude male statues with little broken off penises. Nobody is asking for those to be removed. Why is it always women that get ridiculed?? Geesh.

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  21. I immediately thought of all the young girls I see post their daily picture on FB. I think the artist hit it right on. I think if the statue didn't have a shirt, it would be less "in your face" nudity, but it is a sign of the times (sadly). My only concern with it being in a family place, will it be an issue of misunderstanding by young people...more exposure = more desensitization?

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  22. It's art to me. We have our own piece of controversial art here in Nashville, TN. It's located in the round-about in the Music Row area where a lot of our great music is recorded in the studios. It's called Musica. I think it too is an awesome piece - google it!

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  23. "Art is meant to challenge and provoke" but not a group of third graders on a field trip.
    And, seriously, comparing these ninnies to breastfeeding, come on... If the mommy is bf pants-less, then, yes, it would be as controversial.

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  24. it's porn and it offensive and intended to shock and offend......

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  25. I don't mind the naked part, but the dismemberment isn't super cool. And I can't believe do many people are bothered by the nudity versus the missing head and detached legs... Priorities people, wtf?

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  26. oh please its not porn, why are Americans so prudish about nudity - the human form is beautiful. Your children take their cues from you, you freak out, they freak out. If you don't want them to see it, skip the gardens or just this part of the gardens.

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  27. I think it's really beautiful and sad. Art is appropriate everywhere. The human form is a work of art. I wish people who get up in arms over this kind of thing would do some charitable work to put their White Whines in perspective.

    When I ran across Botero's work in a college class, I was like WTF! That's some fugly shizz! Then I moved to NYC and got to see some of his statues in real life and I came to love them and really appreciate the beauty and the statement he makes with his art. Now we have one in my town! It was really controversial at first and some snot-nosed kids at one of the local schools defaced it as their senior prank, but now it's pretty much NBD. I love driving by it. (Fat) Man on Horse. http://www.claytonhistorysociety.org/imagespublicart/botero1.jpg

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  28. I believe it is art and it is an interesting piece, but it is displayed in the wrong place. Regardless of ANYONE's opinion about the piece, SOME people are going to take offense at it. This was known before it was placed and they placed it anyway. Not a smart choice for a family place. Controversy has no place at a public park.

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