Recently, the Arboretum was gifted 11 life-sized sculptures gifted to the garden by Chinese sculptors. The long term goal by the arboretum is to place these sculptures into a International Sculpture Garden that will be built to expand the Arboretum.
Thought Number One
|the Arboretum is an educational, recreational and|
cultural resource for the Kansas City region.
Thought Number Two
“Art without emotion its like chocolate cake without sugar. It makes you gag.”
― Laurie Halse Anderson
Well, then one of the donated sculptures that was placed at the Arboretum must be truly "art" as it seems to be making some people gag and it is certainly stirring up a whole lot of emotion. The up- side to this flap about the questionable art, is the attendance at the arboretum is up. No firm figures have been released but a spokesperson has said the gardens are far busier than normal.
The controversy over one of the gifted statues started May 9th when a young mother, Joanne Hughs, accompanied by her husband and two small children were walking on one of the parks nature trails when they happened by a sculpture that Hughs felt was inappropriate for a public garden.. To be clear on this point, Mrs. Hughes believes the sculpture needs to be relocated somewhere that is less visited by young families. She feels the art is too mature for young children and sends a "wrong" message. She feels that a naked, dismembered body is taking pictures of itself, lends it inappropriate for small kids. She found it a vulgar depiction of sexting.
Of course, the people that think Mrs. Hughs is being narrow minded, are quick to point out that the works of Rodin or Michelangelo were nude and there are numerous ancient works of antiquity that were as well. Mrs. Hughs counters with "I have seen the statue of David in person. It is beautiful. He is also not taking a picture of his penis. There is a difference there. The message is different."
Sarah Van Landuyt, executive director of the Arts Council of Johnson County, said she thinks the arboretum sculpture is doing what art is supposed to do. "The artwork is not meant to be pornographic. It is meant to spark this kind of conversation."
The city and the arboretum have both made statements essentially stating that they do not consider the sculpture to be offensive, obscene and have no plans on relocating it. There have been signs posted, however, that say:
Some pieces included a display of the human body and parental guidance is encouraged.
The signs have not appeased Mrs. Hughs and she is now working with Kansas and Missouri chapters of the American Family Association, whose national organization is hoping to get enough signatures compel a Johnson County District Court to convene grand jury impaneled to decide whether the arboretum can be indicted on obscenity charges.
|The statue named appropriately enough "Accept or Reject" by |
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