– Calgary Transit rejects ad featuring naked baby

Calgary Herald

By Richard Cuthbertson

Since rising to international prominence in 1998, Australian-born Ron Mueck has developed a unique contemporary practice that extends the traditional desire in Western art to take artistic representation to the limits of realism. His extremely popular, uncannily realistic sculptures continually shock contemporary art sensibilities with the reminder that the essentials of the human condition — birth and death, love and loneliness, body and mind — are still, today, worthy subjects for art, and can be powerfully evoked through inert materials formed in our likeness, but not, exactly, like us.

Sculpture by Ron Mueck

Calgary Transit has rejected an advertisement for the Glenbow Museum that shows the giant sculpture of a naked newborn child.

The transit authority says it was a judgment call on its part and it was concerned some members of the public might be put off by the five-metre-long sculpture, in particular by the umbilical cord.

Spokeswoman Theresa Keddy said while Calgary Transit wants to support art in the city, it has to be mindful of community standards and the opinions of all Calgarians.

“It’s just different opinions,” she said. “Some people would find a brand new newborn baby beautiful, and other people might find it a little bit too much to see it like that.”

She adds the Glenbow didn’t have a problem with the decision and decided to feature another sculpture in the advertisement.

“This is one of the more difficult ones, because it is art,” Keddy said of transit’s decision not to show the advertisement. “There’s quite a large leeway for art.”

The sculpture is by artist Ron Mueck and named A Girl. It’s part of an exhibition opening at the Glenbow today called Real Life: Ron Mueck and Guy Ben-Ner.

On its website, the Glenbow says Mueck’s sculpture is “a mammoth work that is the artist’s most powerful depiction of childbirth to date.”

Calgarian Matthew Patton isn’t offended by the sculpture, but says it should be up to Calgary Transit to decide what it wants to advertise.

“Some people might be a little freaked out by it,” he said Friday evening.

Anne-Marie Chantal, however, believes Calgary Transit made the wrong decision.

“If they’re worried about people being offended, I think it’s not a good reason. It’s just an ad,” she said.

Keddy said Calgary Transit would be fine with running a photo of the baby from the belly up, adding that’s what happened in Edmonton when the sculpture was exhibited in the provincial capital.

But the Glenbow decided against this move as it would take the sculpture out of context, the museum’s marketing manager told a Calgary TV station.

They’ve decided instead to use a different sculpture of a baby’s head.

rcuthbertson@theherald. canwest.com

RELATED LINK: Glenbow Museum

Explore posts in the same categories: advertising, Calgary, News, transit

%d bloggers like this: