Thursday, January 24, 2008

Artist Wins Court Case in Vandalism of N*de Statue

Penticton ordered to pay artist over nude statue

JOHN MOORHOUSE
The Canadian Press
January 23, 2008 at 3:35 AM EST

PENTICTON, B.C. — An artist who created a nude statue called the Baggage Handler that caused so much controversy that it made international headlines will be awarded nearly $15,000 in damages.

Artist Michael Hermesh sued the City of Penticton and the Art Gallery of the South Okanagan after they refused to pay for the damage done to his piece, which was also known as Frank.

After the statue of the middle-aged man surrounded by several old suitcases was unveiled in 2005, members of Penticton council claimed they were unaware the sculpture was to be nude and a steel plate was placed over the figure's genitals. The controversy spawned international media attention which intensified after vandals lopped off the figure's penis.

The next month, after more vandalism, Mr. Hermesh took the sculpture down for repairs which the city refused to pay.

He was awarded $14,386 total in damages....

In her reasons for judgment, Judge Jane Cartwright said by agreeing to temporarily install the sculpture in the traffic circle, the city was in effect “renting” the artwork and Mr. Hermesh retained ownership.

Judge Cartwright ruled the city was negligent in failing to protect Frank from damage....

In addition to the vandalism involving Frank's penis, the sculpture's left ankle was fractured and the left calf cracked. A few weeks later, his groin area was spray-painted green. Art gallery employees tried to remove the paint, without consulting Mr. Hermesh, who claims they unintentionally did further damage....

To see the complete article, click here

PS: Maybe this will have the effect of municipalities not ever letting nude statutes be displayed in public place, or taking a more positive outlook, maybe this will have the effect of giving cities and towns incentive to catch vandals in the act and make them pay for their damage and narrow-mindedness. What do you think? Let me know or comment here. Ilene


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