Martyrdom (visual art)
Region: North America
Medium: Installation Painting
Artist: Erika Risko; Mayer Fine Art
Confronting Bodies: Management of the building where Mayer's Fine Art is located
Dates of Action: July 2008
Location: Norfolk, Virginia, United States
Description of Artwork: Four canvases that collectively depict a woman's nude torso and arms.
The Incident: Erika Risko's work, Martyrdom, was exhibited at Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia without incident. The piece also showed in a student exhibit in Washington, D.C. called Early Look, without complaint. Mayer's Fine Art Gallery chose to display Early Look in Norfolk, including Risko's work. Building management complained that the nude, female breasts depicted in the work were offensive and the piece should be removed from exhibit.
Results of Incident: Instead of removing Martyrdom, the gallery owner decided to cover the breasts, in an effort to make the building management's demand look foolish. There was also talk of plans to ask guests to design "tasteless" pasties which will be rotated over Martyrdom's breasts for the rest of the month.
Source: Phillyist (www.phillyist.com)