Name: Mural censored at Kennedy International Airport for nudity

Date:  1995 - 2005

Location:  North America

SubjectNudity , Religious

MediumMixed Media , Public art

image description
Artist: muralist, Deborah Masters

Confronting Bodies: The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights; Kennedy International Airport

Date of Action: April 2001

Specific Location: Kennedy International Airport - New York, USA

Description of Artwork: Deborah Masters’ 300-foot-long mixed-media mural depicting New York street life resides in Terminal 4 of Kennedy International Airport. Part of the large mural, which was privately financed, is an 8-by-10-foot relief depicting a store selling religious items. Included in this 8-by10-foot section of the mural was a 12-inch sculpture of Jesus on the cross, naked.

Description of Incident: Even though it was not anatomically graphic, the image of Jesus naked on the cross left several construction workers working at the terminal disturbed. One of the workers called the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the national group that has twice protested images it considered insulting at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. William Donohue, president of the Catholic League, called airport officials to complain about the sculpture, then several of the construction workers were asked for their opinion on the issue and the muralist was consulted.

Results of Incident: Within hours of Donohue’s initial complaint to airport officials, the issue was resolved. With a few extra dabs of paint, the artist responsible, Deborah Masters, added a loincloth to the sculpture. Picture above: the revised mural in which a loincloth was painted onto the statue of Jesus. Masters also made a statement claiming that she had meant to clothe the Christ figure all along, but had simply forgotten.

Source: New York Times article printed on 4/25/2001. And, Deborah Masters' website:

Submitted By: National Coalition Against Censorship

FileRoom Search | Table of Contents | Category Homepage | NCAC