A sculpture in Astoria’s Socrates Sculpture Park has sparked some controversy.
Artist piece “Bear Eats Man” was put in place in September as part of the 2013 Emerging Artist Fellowship Exhibition.
The piece features a nude man being grabbed my a bear from behind.
“Situated in a grove of trees within an urban park, this narrative depicts a dramatic moment of shock and death,” Thordis Adalsteinsdottir, the artist, wrote. “‘Man’ is depicted with eyes wide open, nude and in state of adrenaline-fed surprise. The wild bear looms over the man while sinking his teeth into the man’s shoulder, succumbing to the physical power of nature and exposing his own vulnerability. The tableau of figures is a rather pessimistic, but perhaps realistic, idea that peaceful coexistence may not be possible.”
But blogger and concerned citizen George the Atheist recently wrote a letter to New York City Parks Commissioner Veronica White to air his concerns about the artwork.
“Ms. White, little innocent New York City School children visit this park quite often. Must they be subjected to such an offensive, disgraceful and outrageous depiction of bad taste, questionable ‘art,’ and obvious pornography?” the blogger wrote. “I submit this borders on child abuse. Just what is going on with the New York City Parks Department under your aegis which champions this blatant display of bestiality?”
The Parks Department eventually wrote back to George the Atheist, saying while the land is owned by the department, it does not approve or deny the artworks placed within the park.
In addition, a spokeswoman from Socrates Sculpture Park said that a sign had been placed at the entrance of the park, warning parents of young children of the nudity.
George the Atheist wrote that the sign is way too small and can be easily missed by those who enter the park.
In response, Socrates Sculpture Park said it would re-evaluate the sign.
“Socrates Sculpture Park installed signage at the entrance of the park shortly after the EAF13 exhibition opened on September 8th,” the statement said. “Since then, we have become aware of concerns from a few community members and have been exploring ways, with the artist, to address those concerns.”