Love is the Law (painting)

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Date: 1994

Region: North America

Subject: Nudity

Medium: Painting


Artist: RoseMarie Wurm

Confronting Bodies: Local minister, and town supervisor.

Dates of Action: 1994

Location: Massena, New York

Description of Artwork: The painting shows a nude man and woman beneath a ribbon held by an angel which reads "Romans 13:10," referring to a biblical passage that discusses the importance of love. The man's genitals are exposed, as is the woman's backside.

The Incident: The painting was on exhibit in the Massena Public Library's main reading room. After one week, Reverend Robert Wiernusz claimed that the piece was pornographic. After hearing the complaint the town supervisor, Duane Hazelton, removed the piece from display.

Results of Incident: RoseMarie Wurm contacted the ACLU and the National Campaign for Freedom of Expression, who wrote Hazelton, objecting to his actions. The Massena Library Board unanimously voted to reinstall the work before Hazelton received the letter. The library is now working on a free expression policy.

Source: Artistic Freedom Under Attack, 1995