Mary Loeffler (painting)
Artist: Mary Loeffler
Date of Action: August 2021
Region: North America
Location: Arlington Heights, IL
Confronting Bodies: Principal Dottie Sievert at Wheeling High School
Description of Artwork: 17-year-old Mary Loeffler painted a life-sized work with a naked left breast.
The Incident: The high school principal deemed the painting disruptive to the learning environment, and ordered the painting be removed from the school lobby. The painting was subsequently re-displayed with a piece of fluorescent paper covering the breast.
Results of Incident: Students were outraged by the school's censorship of their peer's artwork and protested in a number of capacities. The National Coalition Against Censorship got involved in the case, releasing statements saying that the covering of the work made it obscene.
School tries to patch up student art controversy: Wheeling High School officials' response to a student's revealing self-portrait has sparked a schoolwide controversy about censorship. May 10, 2003 | By Colleen Mastony, Chicago Tribune staff reporter.
High school artist Mary Loeffler wanted her self-portrait to make a statement about freedom and women's bodies. Instead, it prompted a schoolwide discussion about age-appropriate art and censorship. Loeffler, 17, painted a life-size portrait of herself wearing a bright red dress with her left breast exposed. On Wednesday, she hung the painting in the lobby outside the Wheeling High School cafeteria.