A portrait of a nude pregnant women by the art photographer Angela Strassheim — part of a larger exhibit of works by Strassheim titled “Focused on Family” and shown inside of the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville’s “Project Atrium” — has been deemed “pornographic” by Jacksonville City Council President Clay Yarborough, the Jacksonville Daily Record reported yesterday.
In a statement, Yarborough said that, “as a parent, I support parental choice and the freedom of children not to see something like that before an appropriate time as determined by their parent/guardian,” and requested that Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown pull all $233,000 in funding allocated to the museum through the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville. Given the potential First Amendment repercussions, the request has been sent over to the Office of General Counsel.
Both the museum and the Council are standing by the artist. The museum’s director Marcelle Polednik told The Daily Record that she was “very surprised” to hear that Yarborough called the photo “pornographic” and the Cultural Council — who referred to Yarborough’s objection as “unfortunate” — stated that it “stands ready to defend the artistic and curatorial choices of our cultural service grantees.”
For her part, Strassheim stayed positive. “I think we are all better off with the insight [the photo] provides,” the artist told The Daily Record, stating that, “I am proud of the museum for standing by their beliefs in the freedom of expression and by me.”