Anatomically correct, politically incorrect

I’m not too sure the outcome would be much better in my native Houston, Texas. Hope springs eternal. (And I realize the story is a bit dated, but I just now found it.)

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported and followed up on the case of a set of nude statues by artist Itzik Asher entitled Journey to the New, which depict a father, a mother, an infant, and an older child. The pieces are on display at a shopping center. The nudity is subtle, the pieces are somewhat abstract. But the anatomically correct statues are making a few parents a bit nervous, given that the shopping center is not too far from an elementary school. Quoting from the article:

“My daughter has been joking about it,” said Jeffrey Cohen, whose 6-year-old daughter attends summer camp there. “She shouldn’t be talking to me about this.”

Some, like Richard Caster, who owns the shopping center where the statues are on display, describe the work as “natural and beautiful.” Others are pressuring Caster and Asher for the prompt addition of fig leaves, or even the relocation of the statues entirely.

This is not the first attempt to censor Asher’s work: there was a prior incident in 1995 which resulted in the temporary installation of cardboard fig leaves.

The school, which is due to start classes shortly, has left the issue up to the parents to resolve with the property owner. Which is exactly what I think they should be doing; there is no reason for the school to get involved in a dispute which does not directly involve them.

As to what should become of the art display? Sooner or later the kids are going to have the “birds and the bees” talk. I remember we had our first “sex ed” talk in fifth grade; the private school I was going to at the time required parent confirmation and I was one of two kids that got to spend those hours in the library. Thankfully having to wait another year before I learned about the penis, vagina, etc. had no lasting ill effects on me. I don’t see how it would have been any worse had I learned sooner rather than later. The great artists of the Renaissance did not censor their work; I would see such censorship today as being a step backward, not forward.

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