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Artists Miffed By Calvin College’s Scrapping Of Sex Art

September 19, 1985

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) _ Eight artists canceled an exhibition at a college run by the Christian Reformed Church after school officials demanded a painting of a man and woman having sex be removed, officials say.

The show was to have opened Wednesday at Calvin College, but the eight Toronto artists scrapped their plans amid the controversy over Patriciahat we’ve gained. We have to maintain the respect of those that support this college.″

Young said the work was not acceptable to ″the constituency who supports″ the school, which is run by the Christian Reformed Church.

Art department head Helen Bonselaar called it ″inconsistent with the community here. They wouldn’t understand.″

The second part of Mahon’s piece is of a sculpture of a pregnant woman overlaid by a spike-studded cross; the third depicts a baptism.

Mahon, who did not come to Grand Rapids for the exhibit, is ″a very strong Catholic woman, married with two children (who is) opposed to abortion,″ said Renee Kok, a Calvin graduate and one of the artists who canceled the show.

The panel in question is ″not a happy sexual act″ and depicts the ″randomness of empty sexual relations,″ said Kok, an instructor at Ontario College of Art.

The decision ″to censor this piece from the show and the criticism heard of the naked human figures″ in other works disappointed her, she said.

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