Monday, August 13, 2007

Art Space News: Controversy at Waikato Museum (New Zealand)

Waikato Museum (Hamilton, New Zealand) is expecting public outcry over the display of a controversial work of art. The piece, 'Better Work Stories' by Emil McAvoy, is inspired by the recent police sex trials in New Zealand. 'Better Work Stories' features three aluminum batons with phallic-shaped ends. Museum curator Leafa Wilson says, "while nudity is often criticized, the subject matter is likely to cause the most controversy".

Emil McAvoy has made the finals of the Trust Waikato National Contemporary Art Awards with his controversial piece. McAvoy has stated that he is aware that people may be offended by the work but says, "the ugliness of the work is only the ugliness of what it's about" and that he wants people to be empowered by the artwork so that they will have the strength to speak out against future acts of police brutality and corruption.

It has been hard to find information about 'Better Work Stories' due to the fact that several images of the piece have been removed from various New Zealand websites- I was able to find a cropped version of 'Better Work Stories' (Image at top). I can't say if I will defend this piece or not since I have been unable to view it. However, I will say that it is admirable that McAvoy has given the proceeds from selling small-scale copies of the piece to charity.

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin

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