Man D (drawing)

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Date: 1995

Region: North America

Subject: Nudity

Medium: Painting


Artist: Elin O'Hara Slavick

Confronting Bodies: The city of Raleigh's Mayor, city counselors and gallery officials

Dates of Action: 1995

Location: Raleigh, North Carolina

Description of Artwork: Man D is a drawing of classic female nudes surrounded by words like "spank," "whip," and "piss." The piece represents both women's playful desires and love for traditional art, which are played out upon the female body.

The Incident: O'Hara Slavick's piece was part of a two-person exhibit sponsored by Artspace, and organization that provides studios and space to local artists. The organization leases space from the city of Raleigh. After the pieces were reviewed and installed, other artists whose studios resided in the gallery complained to Raleigh's Mayor, Tom Fetzer, that there were pornographic images included in the exhibit. The mayor set a date for the city council to review the exhibit. Before the city council meeting, the Artspace board voted to remove the exhibit and explain that the artists voluntarily chose to remove their works.

Results of Incident: The artists contacted the ACLU who informed Artspace's director, Anne Tharrington, that the artists did not want to cancel their exhibit. O'Hara Slavick obtained a temporary restraining order based on her contract with the gallery, and her first Amendment rights, forcing Artspace to display her exhibit.

Source: Artistic Freedom Under Attack, 1996