David (sculpture)

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Date: 1991

Region: North America

Subject: Nudity

Medium: Television, Sculpture


Artist: Michelangelo and Channel One educational broadcasting

Confronting Bodies: Madison Middle School officials

Dates of Action: September 1991

Location: Eugene, Oregon

Description of Artwork: A news program for students that showed frontal footage of the Michelangelo's "David."

The Incident: Madison Middle School was scheduled to show its first day of Channel One, a news show for schools. But because a news story that covered the vandalism of the sculpture, school officials banned the broadcast on the grounds that the story showed a "full, front view" of the nude sculpture.

Results of Incident: Channel One received only two or three other complaints about that day's show, although nearly 10,000 schools showed the broadcast.

Source: Artistic Freedom Under Attack 1992



Date: 2001

Region: North America

Subject: Nudity, Religion

Medium: Sculpture


Artist: The Fountain and Falls shop owners and the store’s manager Chuck Cole


Confronting Bodies: Residents in Polk County town; Polk County government officials


Dates of Action: Polk County, Florida USA


Location: 2001


Description of Artwork: The 500-pound, 5-foot concrete statue in question is a replica of Michelangelo’s great masterpiece, David.

The Incident: The replica of the anatomically correct masterpiece, considered one of the world’s greatest treasures was put up outside the Fountain and Falls shop by the store’s manager, Chuck Cole. The statue was placed in front of the business along a busy thoroughfare through the small town of Polk County, Florida. Residents in the town of 3,800 objected to the naked statue bringing their complaints to City Hall. “I didn’t even know it was art […], to me, it’s just a naked man standing on the side of the road” said Jeanne Johnson who was among those who complained to City Hall. The controversy prompted City Manager Jim Drumm to look into the city’s code and statutes to see if the sculpture violated obscenity laws. Drumm said, “There’s nothing legally we could do about it since we can’t regulate art, but the people were demanding that we do something […]. As a matter of courtesy, we asked the store owners to put a cloth around the statue”.

Results of Incident: Ultimately, Chuck Cole, the store manager of Fountain and Falls, who put David outside the business, bowed to pressure and wrapped a cloth around the Biblical figure’s waste. Cole, did not like the request, but he obliged saying, “This is a representation of a classic masterpiece. It’s art, not obscenity.” Poking fun at the incident, Cole said he intends to replace the plain white cloth with a leopard-print bandanna: “I figure if I’m going to have to cover him, I might as well do it in style.”

Source: Orlando Sentinel: Central Florida News archives: www.OrlandoSentinel.com