"> Name: Cambridge City Councilor Steals Penis from Exhibit

Date:  1985 - 1995

Location:  North America

SubjectExplicit Sexuality

MediumMixed Media

Artist: Hans Evers

Confronting Bodies: Cambridge Arts Coucil

Date of Action: 1994

Specific Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Description of Artwork: The exhibit entitled, "Identidem," includes photographs of the artist at different stages of his life. It also exhibits sculptures of a bronze cast of a penis and three plywood boxes containing sex paraphernalia with peepholes for viewing. The artist uses the penis to show a male-dominant society.

Description of Incident: The works were included in an exhibit in the Cambridge City Hall Annex, sponsored by the Cambridge Arts Council. A female city employee complained that the pieces constituted sexual harassment. City Councilor, William Walsh, removed a photo of a penis as well as some of the sex paraphernalia from the boxes and brought them to his home. Walsh stated that he was "a guardian of the city's property...you tell me what vibrators have to do with being a work of art." The installation of the exhibit was discontinued.

Results of Incident: Walsh returned the stolen pieces. The next day city attorneys determined that the pieces were not obscene, pornographic, or sexually harassing and allowed the exhibit to be intstalled with warning signs regarding the contents of the work and screens to block the works from public view. Evers filed a lawsuit against Walsh for willful and malicious destruction of property.

Source: Artistic Freedom Under Attack, 1995

Submitted By: NCAC

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