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College Bars Nude Canvas of World Leaders

February 08, 1991|From Associated Press

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A painting of five world leaders shown nude was pulled from a junior college faculty exhibit after complaints from the public.

The artist, a part-time faculty member at Anne Arundel Community College, replaced the life-size painting with a landscape the day before the show opened last month, but he said he was disappointed that he had been asked to do so.

The 8-by-8-foot oil painting, titled "Capitalism Is Dead," was meant as a political commentary, artist Josef Schuetzenhoefer said.

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Polish President Lech Walesa, Polish Cardinal Jozef Glemp, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and the late millionaire publisher Malcolm Forbes were depicted. They were shown standing on a cart with missing wheels, Schuetzenhoefer said.

Anne Arundel College administrators inspected the painting after complaints were made when it was hung Jan. 19 in the Pascal Center Art Gallery.

Within hours, the administrators asked that the painting be covered to avoid offending members of a church group scheduled to use the center that weekend. It was later removed.

"I'm disappointed about the decision. In the interest of higher learning, I think there's room for dissent," the artist said.

The painting had been placed on the back wall of the gallery, making it visible to people walking in a nearby hall, said Theone Relos, a college spokeswoman.

Gallery coordinator Chris Mona said the painting was too large to be easily put anywhere in the room, but it still would have been moved if administrators had told him that they wanted it placed less visibly, he said.

"It's part of the educational mission to challenge . . . students, to make them think. I would have liked to have seen it in the show," he said.

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