POCATELLO, Idaho — Nude photographs included in an exhibit titled “God’s Art” have prompted Idaho State University officials to cover the art gallery featuring the display with paper and black drapes and to post signs warning of adult content.
A portrait of the artist’s very pregnant 22-year-old daughter, wearing a white shirt but exposing her bare stomach, was also removed from the Transitions Gallery’s window before the April 16 opening in the Pond Student Union building.
“The whole premise behind God’s Art was to show the beauty of the human form,” photographer Nick Homburg, of Idaho Falls, told the Idaho State Journal. “There’s no sexual content.”
Homburg, who is also a student at the university studying anthropology and Mass Communication, used four models and members of his own family for the art show.
“People are kind of my forte,” he said.
Jason Schlegal, ISU program board administrator, said officials chose to cover over the art show because it’s near the Early Learning Center for children.
“There was the potential for young children to see it,” Schlegal said.
Lee Krehbiel, interim vice president for student affairs, said university administrators did not know the content of the art show until it was about to open.
“ISU is a public university where freedom of expression is cherished,” Krehbiel said. “But we have to balance the artist’s right to expression with the public’s right to not view the photos if they choose not to.”
The gallery is also near a video arcade.
“They are covering up something that’s beautiful,” said Mary Anne Benner, one of several students who wrapped themselves in black drapes during a protest demonstration supporting the gallery. “Yet there are violent video games a few feet from the gallery. In view of what’s happened with the shootings at Virginia Tech, they should be more concerned about them.”
The demonstration included covering some of the more violent video games in the arcade with black sheets.
On April 16, a lone gunman killed 32 students and a faculty member in the deadliest shooting spree in U.S. history on Virginia Tech’s Blacksburg campus.