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Denounced Over Faint Suggestion Of Nipple, Cherokee Street Mural Turns Critics Into Fans

Categories: Arts

prime_nip.JPG
Danny Wicentowski
Is that a nipple?

Faring Purth's mural Prime sprawls across the south-facing wall of the Nebula Coworking building at the corner of Cherokee Street and Jefferson Avenue, but apparently its new neighbor, Family Dollar, threw a fit over an early version of the work.

The problem? Just a little hint of nipple.

"Family Dollar does not approve of the paintings being applied to the side of our leased premises," reads an e-mail sent to Jason Deem on February 19. Deem commissioned the mural, and his company, South Side Spaces, owns the Nebula building and leases space to Family Dollar. He provided Daily RFT with a copy of his tenant's hot-and-bothered missive that declared the mural "offensive."

See also: Artist Faring Purth Begins Massive Cherokee Street Mural; Detractors Call It Racist, Sexist

"It is offensive," the e-mail continues, "and does not reflect positively on the type of business we operate. Therefore, we are putting Landlord on notice of our position and reserve all rights afforded to us under the terms of the lease."

primebeginning.jpg
Allison Babka
The mural's early outline elicited various knee-jerk objections, including that it showed some nipple.

Purth generally avoids getting involving in controversies around her own work, but she sounded off this week on the Brooklyn-based arts blog Brooklyn Street Art. There, she writes that Family Dollar threatened legal action over her work, claiming the almost-nipple was deterring customers.

Daily RFT spoke to a Family Dollar spokeswoman about the e-mail, but she said she wasn't familiar with the situation and declined to comment further.

However, Deem says, Family Dollar's tune changed dramatically as Purth added layer after layer of detail to Prime.

primecomplete111.jpg
Danny Wicentowski
"As the piece progressed, the nudity was partially covered and additional detail was added," Deem recalls. "Family Dollar felt that their concerns were addressed. Overall, Family Dollar was flexible and reasonable to work with through the process."

See also: PHOTOS: Faring Purth's Completed Cherokee Street Mural Is Haunting, Eerily Beautiful

But this wasn't the only time the early stage of Prime -- a black outline of a kneeling woman -- raised hackles among its Cherokee neighbors. While Family Dollar kvetched over the nipple, two local artists looked at the black female figure and perceived racist and sexist overtones. Both artists later offered retractions and apologies, and as Purth added to Prime, the rough outline became a work of intricate, melancholy grandeur.

But then city of St. Louis took its own turn: Two weeks ago, Deem received a notice from the City Building Division. It said the mural violated city code.

Continue to read how an inexperienced city inspector cited Purth's mural for unlicensed advertising.

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51 comments
ut_4_me
ut_4_me topcommenter

Didn't Jerry Seinfeld once say that sex occurs when the nipple makes its first appearance?


Sade Donovan
Sade Donovan

Im saying it doesnt belong in My neighborhood. .with that being said I was born and raised in this neighborhood I remember it before it got bad..and I abso love what the businesses are doing for the area..almost 2 years I bought my home here and moved back from the county..but they need to care about what the people of the neighborhood want and we want it cleaned up..and not have to look at something that is a clearly drab and dull..why not put something up aesthetically pleasing and bring beauty to the area..trust me when I say myself I personally like the picture its odd and off and a little morbid..and I do photography of that nature..but not the place for it..its facing a grocery store for christ sake!..why not do something that might depict beauty and health..or something inspiring..the RFT will continue to lie about how everyones loves this..and nothing we can do about it..just like they make up drama and false and incorrect stories almost weekly..lol..its sad really..the painting the rft desperation. .its the paper I always try to read but as of late..its like why bother..

Keith Stephens
Keith Stephens

Are you saying it's a distraction from public urination?

Richard Head
Richard Head

ugliest thing to hit the lou since the horseshoe to the west was assembled..

Sade Donovan
Sade Donovan

And I can guarentee you most of thw people who actually live in the neighborhood such as myself do not like it.nbut we dont matter we only live and pay taxes for the area..its all about the businesses drawing in the damn hipsters..

Sade Donovan
Sade Donovan

I think its a stupid placement facing a grocery store where the poor peopelw of the neighborhood shop..its NOT all avout the cherokee shop owners..the neighborhood that is..and I think that needs to be addressed..I mean the white business owners of the neighborhood who will not hire people from the neighborhood..its art..badly placed ..

Matt Galati
Matt Galati

Im not saying its super baller but its not shit. Tags are dumber in my opinion.

Matt Galati
Matt Galati

You guys are retarded if you think this sux.

Matt Galati
Matt Galati

What is art if it cannot be art. Is the human body not ours? Are we still this moody after a good solid millennia over nipples?. Nope. We are all still perverts who would rather jerk it to a nipple than appreciate even an inkling of color in our lives.

John Null
John Null

Oh no, a nipple! I don't want my kids to see something they used to drink out of!

John Bentley
John Bentley

these rich people are they the ones who profit off the "goverment housing" and Their military minded government take handouts too enforce their ways?

John Bentley
John Bentley

the graffitti gives kids something to do besides steal from unlocked cars for weed money

John Bentley
John Bentley

I hope she draws in place no body has to look at it

Blake Harris
Blake Harris

I think a giant bleeding vagina would have been less creepy looking than that ugly ass thing

Robert Michael
Robert Michael

If they see what German street art looks like they might have a heart attack. Come on now..

Rj Hub
Rj Hub

it is just not a nice pic to look at overall. so unimpressed..

Bryan Venable
Bryan Venable

I think certain people find the nipple offensive because without it you can imagine the person is clothed somehow. The nipple makes nudity undeniable. And nudity reminds us of our animal nature, which makes some people uncomfortable. If we're "just" animals then all kinds of things could happen that would not be to their advantage, that they aren't prepared for. It would be terrible. Or so they imagine.

Robin Gray
Robin Gray

Men and women have them, why do we vilify body parts?

Matt Basler
Matt Basler

Maybe it's not the nipple, but the placement of the nipple that is offensive. Someone should paint a mural of a person completely made of nipples except where nipples normally go.

ThatAliceChick
ThatAliceChick

If you ask me, a little nipple is nothing compared to what I see worn by the clientele at the Family Dollar on Cherokee and Jefferson...

Ashley Diane LaHue-Brown
Ashley Diane LaHue-Brown

What is so offensive about a nipple? It's a breast whether a nipple is shown or not. A nipple does not a breast make.

Karla Terhark
Karla Terhark

Perhaps they are using the "vague nipple' argument because it provides a better possibility to get it removed than just coming out and saying "get this fugly thing out of our neighborhood!" Isn't the point of public art that its supposed to aesthetically enhance the area? Not give children nightmares looking like an illustration straight outta the 90's classic "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" by Alvin Schwartz?

Sade Donovan
Sade Donovan

Its a lot of people In the neighborhood Do Not like it..they should of chose a wall that faces cherokee not one that faces a grocery store..im in there almost daily and someone is always saying how tacky it is ..or how its not right for the neighnorhood..most of the people who own on cherokee do not care what the neighbors who own homes in the area its all about the people who own businesses..ive lived in the area almost my entire life..the other night I seen a man pissing on the wall its on..yea keep it classy..I am a proud supportor of all artist and art..but I too believe wrong spot..wrong area..and really wth is it

Couch Pig
Couch Pig

It looks like a tweaker contortionist..Very Gawdy and TAcky..

John Bentley
John Bentley

I cant wait til the stupid thing gets tagged by street thugs it is ugly and a eyesore

jaco1175
jaco1175 topcommenter

Fuck family dollar. From what I have heard this fucking company hasn't even been paying the rent in this location for a ghetto ass store with ghetto ass merchandise that they will probably close soon since they have several new stores nearby. This neighborhood can do without this piece of shit business and their piece of shit clientele. Give the location to someone with a vision that fits in this up and coming neighborhood.

Michael J Keller
Michael J Keller

Look up world traveler Rick Steves' article "European Nudes and American Prudes". One topic he discusses is that it's more than a little sad that he has to closely monitor the angle and the camera shots, in general, that his crew gets because they might accidentally get a shot of art (sculpture, etc) in the backggound that could quite easily be hundreds of years older than the found of this prudish country.

John Evans
John Evans

Finally, a use for the Twain sculpture. We should melt it down into cannon balls and use them to assault this monstrosity.

Blake Harris
Blake Harris

That thing is hideous, I'm sure when it gets tagged it will be an improvement..

Doug Tull
Doug Tull

Art should be controversial. Great art makes others uncomfortable.

Dan Jaboor
Dan Jaboor

Someone called stl conservative? This is a city where the mayor is whoever won the democrat primary. The real tragedy is that I just read a news article that told me that someone else wrote an article about something and this is what it said. No wonder your paper is dying.

Angela Bohac
Angela Bohac

^^ all this, opinion only ^^ Do any of u own the building?? Just bc it isn't what YOU would like to see, doesn't mean this isn't art. And as for the people crying nipple, we all have them. Get over it.

Frank Corona
Frank Corona

This post also brings to light the ethnocentric and bougie attitudes of STL's so called "art community". Goes to show that their parent's money was wasted, as they became nothing more than entitled yuppies, little stock brokers with paint brushes. Who want to impose their will on a neighborhood who has enough people doing the same.

Frank Corona
Frank Corona

First off, the douche who commissioned the "art" doesn't live in the neighborhood and neither does the "artist". I live in the neighborhood, and that "painting" is an eye sore in a community that has enough of those already. Tell her to go recreate that, in whatever affluent neighborhood she is from, see how long they leave it up. It's times like this when I wish for artists with soul and emotional intelligence.

Deb Woods
Deb Woods

It amazes me that people in STL can STILL stun me with their close-minded rigidity. I happen to LOVE this mural and all of it's transcendent symbolism. I shot a whole series of pics of this mural because it's the first freakin cool ART THING (NOT SPORTS THING) someone in STL has done in a very long time. We don't deserve the GIFT of this artist's genius but I'm sure glad she chose us anyway.

Brian Boyd
Brian Boyd

I'm against it because it's ugly. Period.

Keith Stephens
Keith Stephens

America still clings to its purtanical roots. Displays of violence=Okey dokey. Suggestion of nudity= The devil's handy work!

Victoria Warmaster
Victoria Warmaster

they can complain about this but not deal with the rampant graffitti. good going jerkwads.

Elaphrosaurus Morgan
Elaphrosaurus Morgan

its creepy! they could of went with any other artist! no one wants to be stuck looking at this.

Julia Swan
Julia Swan

You can call the nudity art if you want, but this thing is ugly.

ut_4_me
ut_4_me topcommenter

@jaco1175  Remember the time you gave me the blowjob in the bathroom stall at the Family Dollar Store in Washington Park, Jaco?  You are such a swallowing little bitch!  I just love you!

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