Gallery evicts nude dwarfs

Sculptor Michele Beevors with one of her "censored" works outside the Dunedin Public Art Gallery...
Sculptor Michele Beevors with one of her "censored" works outside the Dunedin Public Art Gallery yesterday. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
A Dunedin artist is grumpy because she says her nude dwarfs have been banned from the Dunedin Public Art Gallery.

Otago Polytechnic School of Art head of sculpture Michele Beevors says the six dwarfs - some in sexually explicit positions - have been censored from her "Debbie Does Disney" exhibition, which opens in the gallery today.

"I've never been censored before in my life. It's just bizarre," she said yesterday.

"I've stood up at art school in the past against censorship of students' works. They told me that the Rita Angus curator didn't like the dwarfs. He objected to the graphic content. He thought too many little old ladies going to the Rita Angus exhibition would be offended."

The Te Papa-curated Rita Angus "Life and Vision" exhibition includes several nude self-portraits of the artist.

"I think they're just afraid, because it's a Te Papa exhibition," Ms Beevors said.

"Debbie Does Disney" features more than a dozen fibreglass fantasia figures.

DPAG curator of contemporary art Aaron Kreisler dismissed Ms Beevors' claims when contacted yesterday.

"It was always a curated show and when we're asked to curate things we've got to make a judgement call on what we consider are the strongest works," he said.

"We never even had a discussion with Te Papa about her show."

Te Papa communications manager Jane Keig said yesterday the national museum had been unaware of Ms Beevors' exhibition.

"Two representatives from Te Papa went to the opening of the Rita Angus exhibition, but the exhibition in question hadn't even started being installed then. It certainly wasn't a Te Papa decision."

Ms Beevors said she would protest the decision outside the gallery with a group of seven dwarf supporters today.


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