Exquisite Community

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Date: 1995

Region: North America

Subject: Nudity

Medium: Painting


Artist: Ben Rubin, Cedar Nordbye, Julie Purwin, and Steven Giese

Confronting Bodies: University of Iowa officials and police

Dates of Action: 1995

Location: Iowa City, Iowa, USA

Description of Artwork: Exquisite Community is a set of nine paintings showing human body parts on bed-sheets. When assembled the paintings form three figures. One of the paintings contains a picture of male genitalia.

The Incident: After the necessary permits were obtained, the paintings were attached to an outside wall of a university building as the backdrop for a campus event promoting fine arts. However, the director of planning and administrative services, Richard Gibson, ordered the pieces to be removed. He claimed that they violated the schools policy prohibiting the attachment of materials to the outside of university buildings. Police also suggested that people called to complain about the paintings. The police removed the paintings from the buildings.

Results of Incident: The artists have requested compensation for pieces damaged in the removal. The Iowa District Attorney is processing the request.

Source: Artistic Freedom Under Attack, 1996