Circus 2, Word Slingers
Artist: Pat Kaufman
Date of Action: August 2021
Region: North America
Location: Longboat Key, Florida
Confronting Bodies: Longboat Key Local Government
Description of Artwork: “Circus #2, Word Slingers” is a stylized depiction of three female acrobats and a snake. Two of them are tied together at the arm and the third is gesturing with a baton.
The figures are roughly defined but appear to be semi-nude. Two of the women are wearing bottoms and their breasts are indistinct. The third woman’s breast is depicted from the side and her nipple is suggested.
The Incident: Sarasota artist Pat Kaufman had her painting denied for display in Longboat Key town, due to the nudity in the painting. Kaufman submitted her painting, ‘Circus #2, Word Slingers,’ to the town hall, as a response to the town’s request that it was looking for work from local artists for its next exhibit in Commission chambers.
Results of Incident: Assistant to the Town Manager Susan Phillips stated that what is appropriate for art galleries or museums may not necessarily be appropriate for town hall, and that she would have heard about the nudity from some people. Town Manager David bullock supported the decision, stating “We keep it kind of mild.” Kaufman was not concerned about the refusal and said she thought it was funny