Artist: Audrey Francis
Date of Action: October-November 2001
Region: North America
Location: Hyde Park, New York
Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion
Confronting Bodies: Postmaster John Viola
Description of Artwork: The painting features an overweight woman wearing a pink tee shirt and shorts, cropped from below her eyes to above her knees
The Incident: The painting was approved on October 31st to go on display at the Hyde Park post office as a part of the building's Artist of the Month program. Two days after it was put up, Postmaster John Viola contacted Antonio Marquez, the program's curator, to inform him that a member of the community had sent the post office a complaint, saying that the piece was "insensitive to people overweight." Viola asked that the painting be taken down, although Marquez refused, saying that to remove a painting due to one complaint was unwarranted.
A week later, Viola contacted the artist and asked her to either replace the painting or remove it altogether. Viola also informed Francis that the program had been cancelled. Francis refused to replace the painting, but removed the piece.
Results of Incident: In spite of a great deal of coverage from the local press and a letter from NCAC, the painting was not restored, nor was the Artist of the Month program. However it was put on display the Hyde Park Free Library, where reportedly no complaints were made.
See also http://www.ncac.org/art/20011103~NY-Hyde_Park~Fatgirl_Painting_Removed.cfm and http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/phallic-art-spurs-censorship-debate (second half of the article)