Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

A Little Nude Is Too Nude for Longboat

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

A Little Nude Is Too Nude for Longboat

Article excerpt

Psst! Wanna see a picture of three naked women -- the ladies in the painting that was rejected from hanging in Longboat Key's Town Hall?

If not, Patricia Kaufman won't have her feelings hurt. She says Town Hall's refusal to hang one of her paintings is causing her no pain at all.

"I think it's very funny," the artist, author and playwright told me.

As the Herald-Tribune reported, the stated problem was that her painting -- submitted for hanging on Town Hall walls where local art works routinely display -- features three scantily clad female figures. That would violate a City Hall no-nudes policy, it seems.

No genitalia are depicted or implied, certainly, and the figures are not luridly posed or even realistically presented. But the cartoonish females do each show a bare breast or two.

On a one to 10 scale measuring a painting's power to inspire impure thoughts, I give this painting a two. It could be a one, but I reserve the lower rating for portrayals of big-eyed puppy dogs wearing Christmas ribbon collars.

I'm no art critic, but from what I've seen of Kaufman's work on the Internet, this painting, called "Circus #2, Word Slingers" isn't one of her best. But nothing makes a painting remarkable like a public official banning it. And so now, the remarks just keep on coming, if online chat is any indication.

And yet, those of us who flock to see banned art are usually rewarded with a peek at something titillating or maybe disrespectful to some sacred cow or other, or that at least has a controversial message.

This time, many commenters are scratching their heads, wondering and guessing what the real reason for the rejection must have been. Cartoonish semi-nudity doesn't seem plausible.

I like the artists's attitude. Kaufman finds the banning funny because she has long marveled that prudishness flourishes, even in a locale known for supporting the arts. …

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