Sometimes I have to laugh at the news. I saw this news story linked from the Drudge Report today.

Police told a Rahway, New Jersey family to cover their nude snow woman after an anonymous complaint.

Maria Conneran’s family sculpted Venus de Milo in last week’s snow outside their home on Colonia Boulevard.

Gonzalez says Sgt. Dominick Sforza was apologetic when he went to the house and asked the family to dress the snow woman.

The family added a green bikini top and a blue sarong bottom.

The snow woman melted as the temperatures warmed up this week.

One anonymous complaint. That’s all it took to get the police sent to the home. It’s possible that New Jersey has a state or local ordinance about nude snowwomen, but the report is silent on that aspect of this situation. Here is a screen shot of the before and after photo:

Snowwoman

I admit that the Conneran family did a nice job with the snow sculpture. My snowmen, on the other hand, tend to be more abstract than lifelike.

Joe-Jim

Venus de MiloIf I were to grade the family on their artistic ability of rendering a nude torso, I’d give them an A for doing a good job in a difficult medium. But if I were grading them on producing a representation of the Venus de Milo, the grade would have to be lower since theirs just doesn’t compare with the real thing, as displayed to the right. Did they really intend to replicate the classic Greek sculpture of the Venus de Milo, or is that just an excuse concocted when the police and reporters arrived? Based on the differences between the marble and snow figures, I believe it is the latter. And this isn’t the first time I’ve written about nudes and the Venus de Milo.

Is the snowwoman porn? I’d say it’s not. Is it objectionable? Well, not to me, but someone obviously thought so. And yet I don’t see the big deal. If I had driven by with a three-year-old, I could imagine the resulting conversation: “Lookit, Daddy! Lookit!” “Yep. Looks like they made a snowwoman instead of a snowman.” And that would probably be the end of the conversation.

Is the front yard an appropriate place to render nude torsos out of snow? Apparently not, based on the single complaint. But I doubt that there would have been any complaint if it had be placed in an art gallery and labeled, “Torso in Snow and Time.” It would probably be hailed as trés avant-garde. Context is everything.

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