Politicians Demand Museum Take Down ‘Pornographic’ Photo

Angela Strassheim Untitled (Janine Eight Months Pregnant) (2013) Photo: The artist and Andrea Muslin Gallery via Hyperallergic

A photo by artist Angela Strassheim hanging in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Jacksonville, Florida has caused a fierce argument to break out among members of the local government, the Jacksonville Daily Record has reported.

The President of the City Council Clay Yarborough (R) reacted furiously to a photograph of a nude pregnant woman that was included in Strassheim’s exhibition and has called for the Museum’s $233,000 funding to be withdrawn.

Yarborough told the Huffington Post“Given that any member of the public, including children of all ages can enter, and are in fact encouraged to do so, as City Council President, I take great offense on behalf of the people of Jacksonville that the City would accept this.” He emphasized that, “Unless mayor Brown supports this inappropriate, pornographic display, and accepts that anyone, including children can enter and see it, I insist that you immediately cause to be pulled all funding.”

On Tuesday, Mayor Alvin Brown (D) announced that he would not support the removal of the offending photograph, citing the city’s General Counsel Jason Gabriel who said, “The museum and artist have First Amendment rights to exhibit artwork in a leased public space, even if it may offend some members of the public.”

Meanwhile the artist expressed her gratitude for the support her work had received from the Museum and the Mayor. “I am proud of the museum for standing by their beliefs in the freedom of expression and by me,” Strassheim told the Jacksonville Daily Record.

Museum Director Marcelle Polednik was surprised by the dispute. She concluded that “introducing children to the body is not something that should be shied away from … How many hundreds of thousands of children visit Michelangelo’s David every year?” she asked.

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