… a 55-foot tall sculpture of a nude dancer being erected on a technical school campus in Northern California, as reported by CBSnews.com, is a stunningly bad decision. Nude and half-naked women have graced many public venues and are nothing to be upset about: the Paris Opera House, the US Department of Justice, Highland Park in Pittsburgh, but this one goes too far in my opinion.
It sets an impossible standard, and is an affront to sensibilities.
What is a guy in a non-sexual relationship with a woman supposed to do if they are walking together and encounter a statue like that that is the height of a five-story building? Talk about trying to ignore the 800-pound gorilla in the room: “Hey, let’s meet by the naked lady [hint, hint, wink, wink].”
For that matter, what is a guy in a sexual relationship walking with his lover supposed to do? Chances are way better than even she doesn’t ‘measure up’ to this and will be unavoidably, and perhaps uncomfortably, aware of that. What aesthetic can this possibly serve? What is its point? A stand-alone sculpture like this, of this size, can not avoid in-your-face sexual connotations.
Would I want to tour that campus with my teen-aged daughter? No.
I understand it comes from Burning Man and was well-received there, but what is fine for a week-long party in the desert is not fine as a permanent addition to any town or city. There is a time and a place for everything, as well as a context and a scale – this is not it.
photo from benstarr.com