San Mateo Cartoons

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Artist: Ruth Santee

Year: 2008

Date of Action: September 2008

Region: North America

Location: Caltrain Station, San Mateo County

Subject: Nudity

Medium: Public Art

Confronting Bodies: City of San Mateo

Description of Artwork: Cartoons that contain depictions of nude humans, as well as dogs, cats, and fleas

The Incident: After a local business owner noticed Santee's cartoons in display cases at Caltrain station, he or she contacted a city employee complaining. Associate City Planner Julie Yeh subsequently requested--to public art coordinator Sinem Banna--that the works be removed

Results of Incident: The artist, Santee, contacted the ACLU for guidance. After explaining that city officials could not discriminate against work based on the content, City Attorney Shawn Mason announced that the work would remain in its place for the time it had been planned to be on display.