Art Gallery Owner Exposes School Kids to Nude Photos in Most Un-Neighborly Fashion

Rant 13

gallery owner nude grade schoolSomeone isn't playing nice at PS 42 on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and it's not the kids. It seems that parents are royally peeved after the Dino Eli Gallery across the street from the elementary school put up nude photos of a woman as part of an art installation right smack in the front window that faces the school.

It lines up like this: Parents think it's obscene, Dino Eli (the gallery owner) thinks it's art. The two sides are at an impasse, as Eli says they just can't see eye to eye

As someone who holds an art history degree and drives by XXX billboards while taking my kids to school in Hollywood, I've got a dog in this race. Eli, you're behaving worse than a second grader here, and you need to get off your pompous art horse.

Of course the photographs are art and are not offensive to the general public. Naturally, an art gallery will be displaying art. I don't even fault Eli for putting in the installation in his window facing the grade school. But what the owner should have done after receiving the complaint was to be considerate to his neighbors.

You can move things around in a gallery; in fact, installations by their very nature are movable. Instead of arguing with a school about what is obscene and what is art, why not consider that parents of tiny children may want to shield them for a little while longer. What's the big deal? You've got more art in that gallery, right?

I know the Lower East Side of Manhattan isn't exactly kid-friendly territory, but children and adults have been co-existing in all Manhattan neighborhoods for, like, ever. It's only recently that anyone who dares to ask consideration for the children gets labelled an entitled breeder.

None of us in urban areas can control the environment, nor would we want to. After all, vibrant city life is what attracts many of us to these areas in the first place. But asking to adjust some pictures that contain adult content away from the front door of an elementary school isn't the same thing as starting a campaign to close all of the strip clubs in your area in case your children may catch a glimpse.

Be a good neighbor, Eli, and move the boobs.

Do you think the gallery owner or the parents are in the right here?


Image via John Loney/Flickr

books & media, elementary school, sex & dating

13 Comments

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nonmember avatar amber

would people be offended if they put up something like olympia by manet...or any other nude by any other master painter?

nonmember avatar Mike M

As an individual who thought as a child that adults overreact to human nudity (I never found anything about the human body to be offensive as a kid, while adults often assume that nudity is bad for kids in some unexplained way. [Stating that the nude human body is obscene simply lets others know that the one making the claim is a judgmental individual. To me most kids seem to be much less judgmental than most adults and much more acceptive than we give them credit for.] What I did find to be offensive was being treated by adults as though I was so fragile that I could be harmed by sight of the human body. [A couple things I took issue with as a kid are that both males and females have nipples that are practically the same and yet adults take issue with nipples on women only. Another thing is that mammals are not that much different anatomically speaking from humans and yet adults don't go around censoring their nipples and genitals as though kids would be harmed by the sight of nude animals - instead we simply accept animals as they are... while at the same time we feel that it is proper to be judgmental and intolerant of the nude human body. Go figure.) I think the kids should be the ones who have the say on whether or not that art should be displayed there. (I also just read WABC's news article about this and it said that he lowers the metal gates that cover his windows while kids are going to and leaving school.)

nonmember avatar q

Nudity in and of itself is not offensive, and you're not doing your kids any favors teaching them to shield their eyes from the nude human form in a non-sexual context. This is a situation in which the pictures really need to be seen before the question can be answered.

Loref... Lorefield

I think it is improper simply because it would be disrupting. Be open minded all you want but it isn't going to stop school children from giggling and carrying on about it all day.

nonmember avatar liamia

they giggle BECAUSE they're raised that their own bodies are shameful and that nudity = sex. that's exactly the point!

the4m... the4mutts

I think the owner is in the right. If the kids are being immature, and distracted by it, oh well. They'll get over it in a week.

Kids get used to things pretty quickly, it won't scar them for life.

nonmember avatar zizzler

I have no problem with my kids being exposed to nudity, but I think it's common decency to err on the side of caution and modesty when it comes to small children...especially ones who aren't your own. Nudity can be considered 'graphic', just like violence and gore etc. I think any -decent- person would be obliged to keep graphic images from children. Even if the owner sees it as art, saying 'get over it' to the parents is being insensitive, and quite frankly, a jerk. They must be desperate for attention if they're willing to slight children for the sake of their 'art'.

Loref... Lorefield

<<Nonmember comment from liamia>>


Not every parent is comfortable with exposing their children to nudity. It's awfully presumptuous to assume that parents are teaching their kids to be ashamed of their bodies if they teach them any bit of modesty. I think the gallery should be a good neighbor and change the exhibit.

Vanessa Fields

do your chidren see you naked at home? get over it the naked body is nothing new to children.

nonmember avatar Amber Worth

The owner of the art shop is right that the nude painting is art. However, there are some art that should not be made available to children, so I think he should keep that art piece hidden from outside view.

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