Houston Show of Nude Bronzes Branded Pornographic

Locals Cry "Porn!" Over Houston Show of Nude Bronze Statues

One of nine bronze sculptures in Jorge Marin's
One of nine bronze sculptures in Jorge Marin's "Wings of the City" at Houston's Discovery Green. Photo: liladrian7, via Instagram.

A public art exhibition is ruffling feathers in Houston, where some locals are likening the nine bronze sculptures to porn due to their, at times, anatomically correct depictions of the naked male body, reports the Houston Chronicle.

It’s hard to believe this debate is happening in 2014, given the long history of the classical nude, but some feel that Mexican artist Jorge Marin‘s “Wings of the City,” scheduled to remain on view through February 8, 2015, is too racy for downtown Houston’s Discovery Green.

“It’s very inappropriate, seeing that they have a lot of kids here,” Trena Cole told the Chronicle as she watched over a group of children playing in a fountain on Wednesday. “There are too many activities where they want you to bring everyone (in the family).” In various media reports, Houstonites have complained about the “porn” in the park.

When the nudity was called to the attention of Julie Griffis, who lives nearby but hadn’t initially noticed the potentially offensive nature of the work, she was less than thrilled. “I don’t know that it enhances the park,” she told the Chronicle. “I don’t think it fits in with the theme.”

One of nine bronze sculptures in Jorge Marin's "Wings of the City" at Houston's Discovery Green. Photo: mike_tony, via Instagram.

One of nine bronze sculptures in Jorge Marin’s “Wings of the City” at Houston’s Discovery Green.
Photo: mike_tony, via Instagram.

Other park goers, such as Jim Thomas and his family, were less easily offended. “We see them as art,” he told the Chronicle. “Michelangelo’s statue of David standing naked is probably one of the most famous statues in the world.” Another man, who preferred to remain anonymous, was more blunt, saying that “someone who’s offended by that has never been to Europe.”

As college student Alan Lima pointed out, “It’s part of the body. What can you do? That’s the way you were born,” he said. “I believe it’s art.” “To me, it’s culture,” added one Diantha Brennan. “It’s fine art.”

Park spokesperson Susanne Theis said that the bronze nudes have toured internationally, appearing in 200 different public spaces, and that news reports on the matter were the first indication that public reaction to the installation was anything but positive.

“No one has complained to us,” she claims, citing the park’s 60,000 Facebook fans, over 32,000 email newsletter subscribers, and 20,000 followers on Twitter, where visitors are posting their photos of the statues under the hashtags #wingsofthecity and #discoverygreen. “We’re very proud to have them at Discovery Green,” Theis added.


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