Artist: The Fountain and Falls shop owners and the store’s manager Chuck Cole
Confronting Bodies: Residents in Polk County town; Polk County government officials
Date of Action: Polk County, Florida USA
Specific Location: 2001
Description of Artwork: The 500-pound, 5-foot concrete statue in question is a replica of Michelangelo’s great masterpiece, “David”. (Pictured above: a photograph of Michelangelo’s original “David” on permanent display at the Accademia dell'Arte del Disegno ("Academy of the Art of Design") in Florence, Italy).
Description of Incident: The replica of the anatomically correct masterpiece, considered one of the world’s greatest treasures was put up outside the “Fountain and Falls” shop by the store’s manager, Chuck Cole. The statue was placed in front of the business along a busy thoroughfare through the small town of Polk County, Florida. Residents in the town of 3,800 objected to the naked statue bringing their complaints to City Hall. “I didn’t even know it was art […], to me, it’s just a naked man standing on the side of the road” said Jeanne Johnson who was among those who complained to City Hall. The controversy prompted City Manager Jim Drumm to look into the city’s code and statutes to see if the sculpture violated obscenity laws. Drumm said, “There’s nothing legally we could do about it since we can’t regulate art, but the people were demanding that we do something […]. As a matter of courtesy, we asked the store owners to put a cloth around the statue”.
Results of Incident: Ultimately, Chuck Cole, the store manager of Fountain and Falls, who put David outside the business, bowed to pressure and wrapped a cloth around the Biblical figure’s waste. Cole, did not like the request, but he obliged saying, “This is a representation of a classic masterpiece. It’s art, not obscenity.” Poking fun at the incident, Cole said he intends to replace the plain white cloth with a leopard-print bandanna: “I figure if I’m going to have to cover him, I might as well do it in style.”
Source: Orlando Sentinel: Central Florida News archives: www.OrlandoSentinel.com
Submitted By: NCAC