Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Art or phallic symbol?

Artist defends sculpture for CTA station
Sculptor scoffs at riders who say the piece is pornographic and should be taken away

By Virginia Groark
Tribune staff reporter

September 19, 2006

Lakeview artist Josh Garber insists his intent was to design a sculpture for the Brown Line's Kimball station that would inspire the community and give people a place to sit.

But the proposed piece, "Hope and Renewal," instead set off a mini-firestorm in the Northwest Side neighborhood after e-mailed images of it drew comments that it resembled parts of the male anatomy.

Despite the controversy and requests to alter the design, Garber has decided to stand his ground. He's not altering the artwork.

"I thought about what slight alterations I could make and I realized that the people who have seen the piece in person, it never even crossed their mind, so it's really not fair to me or the jury that picked me to change it," he said.

"It's funny," he said. "What I really think is it speaks more about the viewer and what's in their mind. Because I know when I made it that was never anywhere near my mind-set."

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