Naked in Carmel

January 9, 2008
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Few would object, on the one end, to a Norman Rockwell painting being hung in an art gallery window.

Few, at the other end, would approve of a city park screening of a Jenna Jameson skin flick.

But where is the line in between?

Much has been made elsewhere (for example, http://www.thestarpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=200771130004 and http://www.nuvo.net/articles/manhandles_cause_controversy) about the concerned mothers group that has protested both Clay Terrace’s Victoria’s Secret store and downtown Carmel’s Evan Lurie Gallery of Fine Art (home of the nude door handles) in the name of public decency.

But now that the smoke has died down a little, let’s consider a bigger question: What is and what isn’t OK to display in a public place?

I’m not asking for consensus here. Or for somethig that would pass Constitutional muster. I’m asking for your personal opinion.

What would Victoria’s Secret have to show in its window to get you to add your voice to the protest?  

What would an art gallery have to put in its window for you to say “enough”?

When is a line crossed?

Your thoughts?

FYI: Carmel City Ordinance 6-46 states: "It shall be unlawful for any person to post in any conspicuous or public place within the city any obscene, lewd, indecent or lascivious drawing, photograph, or picture of an indecent or immoral nature…” You can find the legalese here:

 http://www.amlegal.com/nxt/gateway.dll/Indiana/carmel/cityofcarmelcodeofordinances?f=templates$fn=default.htm$3.0$vid=amlegal:carmel_in
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  • I've got a pretty high tolerance for my personal standards. I don't think there is anything inherently offensive about breasts or skin, but I would probably think that genitalia, male or female would be a good place to draw the line.

    Artistically speaking it would be harder to convince me that any art showing exposed genitalia would merit public display. Victoria's Secret stuff would not qualify. Dirty butts or crude language would get me angry if put on display.

    I find depictions of guns and violence far more offensive than artistic nudity and more pervasive in society. I won't drive down West 38th street on a Sunday because of the pictures of aborted fetuses I had to endure on a recent trip.
  • I took a trip to Florence, Italy, and got to see the original sculpture of David by Michelangelo. David's totally nude with his uncircumcised penis out there for the entire world to see. The statue was sculpted over 500 years ago, and is considered one of the finest works of renaissance art.

    I feel that David would somehow be considered obscene in Carmel.
  • Being an artist myself, who has, on occasion been known to do a few nude depictions here and there, I'm having a hard time understanding how something so natural (the human body) depicted in any form could possibly be offensive.... oh darn, wait, i forgot about spandex pants... nevermind!
  • I think the woman (or women) in Carmel who think that a VS display will cause there daughters to act in promiscuous ways is out of touch with reality. Why don't you do your job as a parent and speak to your children!!! If a VS display causes your daughter to act in such ways then you have failed: not society or some stupid VS display at a mall.
  • Carmel, give me a break. At the risk of stereotyping these people, I wonder if they might need to use their time in a more useful manner. Maybe they could visit a shelter and cook a meal for some homeless people. But that might even offend their sensitivity. Hey, HMPPeaceHouse, do you think any of these people could be wearing spandex?
  • All Carmel-ites are nude under their clothes.
  • Better to have the nudity out in public and generating discussions than to have it sequestered in a kid's closet or garage and generating only lewd comments from his (or her) buddies. What would Carmel do with a Japanese bathhouse? Oh, my.

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