DC Memorial Commission Says No to Suse Lowenstein

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By Steve Delahoyde Comment

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While the UK has gotten over nudes in its tunnels, apparently America is still living up to its Puritan stereotype. Case in point: artist Suse Lowenstein‘s Dark Elegy sculpture, created in response to her son dying along with his Syracuse University classmates in the bombing of Flight 103 in 1988, has been rejected by the National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission for public display in Washington DC. The sculpture features 73 vaguely nude women, representing mothers, wives and sisters, grieving over the loss of their loved ones. And although the sculpture has had installations in a number of different cities, the Commission deemed it too risque and runs the risk of being damaged by immature hoodlums:

John G. Parsons, an associate regional director for the National Park Service, first raised concerns about the sculptures in a May 2007 letter to Lowenstein.

“(B)ecause some of the poses of the various figures create an opportunity for irreverent behavior by visitors, there is serious concern about activities that would be disrespectful of your purpose,” Parsons added.

Lowenstein’s husband was so upset by the suggestion that he asked to approach commission members during their deliberations.

“Do you really feel objections like that are valid, and not a fantasy of someone’s mind?” he said. “Because my first instinct was to keep Mr. Parsons away from them.”

We love this response more than anything and we hope some sense comes floating by the Commission’s office sometime soon. Oh, and as an aside, although this was an AP story, we picked the above link to the Houston Chronicle just because either copy or web editor clearly didn’t read the story, as the title in the browser reads “9/11 terror victim memorial soundly rejected.” First, it had nothing to do with the September 11th attacks and second, “soundly”? As in “very valid”? Or did they mean “severe”? In both counts, step it up, huh Chronicle?