VIDEO: “Whaddaya Think?” Of Burien’s Controversial Nude Female Sculpture?

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Burien’s recently-installed, controversial nude female sculpture has become a local media sensation (which we first covered on Monday), and Thursday (June 25th) our B-Town Blog video production crew of Mark Neuman and Bart Bryan dared to actually go near “Paradigm Shift,” the lifelike bronze Mike Magrath statue located at the Interim Art Space, where they shot this video:

If you haven’t yet read our original story, it’s worth a peek since the Comments are quite interesting – click here to read ’em.

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23 Responses to “VIDEO: “Whaddaya Think?” Of Burien’s Controversial Nude Female Sculpture?”
  1. Kathi says:

    Nicely done Bart!

  2. Cyndi B says:

    I noticed all the folks that you interviewed were men. Are you surprised that they all like it? Try getting a well rounded group of people to respond. I can tell you that, as a mom with convictions to raise my sons with morals and integrity, I won’t be exposing my young sons to female nudity. I can’t shelter them from everything, but I am accountable to do my best. It is an unfortunate situation. Read up on the male mind and what pornography does to it.

    • Unfortunately, the only people at B/IAS when Mark and Bart went over to shoot this were men. It is by no means a scientific poll of course (nor is our online one), it is merely another way we’re trying to cover this topic, which seems to have a life of its own now.

      Thanks for reading and commenting – every opinion is valid on The B-Town Blog.

      scott schaefer

    • Milississippi says:

      I bronze statue is hardly pornography. She isn’t having intercourse or any such thing. Nudity doesn’t corrupt anyone, sexuality can corrupt children. Just as never exposing children to the world can damage them.

    • Sarah says:

      Female nudity does not constitute pornography, nor is there anything sexual happening in the sculpture itself. I would encourage anyone who finds this to be pornographic or obscene to think about what it is that is going on in their heads that makes this so offensive, because it’s not happening with the statue.

  3. Johnny says:

    Not a problem. When are we going to stop being such prudes. I went to see the Summer Solstice Parade, Not a problem. There should be a support group started for Prudes.

  4. Laura says:

    I don’t find this any more offensive than the naked father/son fountain along the Seattle waterfront. It is a beautifully done piece of art, nothing more, nothing less. As well, with any art, in a museum or outside, it is your own choice as to whether you look at it or not. No one is forcing you to look at her, so if you’re not a fan, just don’t look.

    With regard to the the thoughts about pornography, this isn’t something obscene. She is not posed in a seductive, come-hither-I’m-naked position, lounging on a nearby rock. She is serene, secluded, contemplative. So what if she’s naked?

    I have two small boys, but I wouldn’t have a problem with them seeing this sculpture. I think it is good to let our children learn to appreciate art and the human form at an early age. It is my belief that teaching them the human body in its purest form is dirty can cause more problems at a later age, such as pornography addictions, or poor self-image.

  5. Wanker says:

    So after all the publicity this has gotten, I made it a point to go and take a look at the sculpture when in down town Burien last night. All I have to say is WTF?!? (F meaning funk of course, I would never curse in a public forum).

    1) The sculpture is in the middle of a dug up parking lot, not really in the middle of a park, or near the entrance of the library.
    2) It is so small that you litterally have to search the landscape to find it, especially when dwarfed by the larger pieces of art.
    3) I have to agree that this is just prudish controversy. No one ever made David put on underwear, and that was hundreds of years ago. I thought we would have been a little enlightend by now.

    It really is as simple as, if you dont want to look at it or have your kids see it, DONT GO THERE! This sculpture is so far removed from anything else, that you really wont see it unless you go looking for it.

    • Kathi says:

      Well Put Wanker!!

    • Burien Dweller says:

      “…No one ever made David put on underwear…”

      Ahh an interesting comparision. The statue of Daviid is of a king contemplating his batlle with Goliath. What is this figure thinking? Based on her squating stance and facial expression – it doesn’t look like she is having fun. Is she doing housework in the nude and is trying to figure out what Is that substance on the wall or thinking what could have been is she stayed single and childless? Is she considering taking the dog to the pound as this is the third night in a row that she has stepped in dog waste on her way to the bathroom? Is she in fact a homeless person or even a camper going to the bathroom herself in a parking lot or in the woods and dealing with IBS?

      • wanker says:

        Burien Dweller:

        “…No one ever made David put on underwear…”

        “Ahh an interesting comparision. The statue of Daviid is of a king contemplating his batlle with Goliath. What is this figure thinking? Based on her squating stance and facial expression – it doesn’t look like she is having fun. Is she doing housework in the nude and is trying to figure out what Is that substance on the wall or thinking what could have been is she stayed single and childless? Is she considering taking the dog to the pound as this is the third night in a row that she has stepped in dog waste on her way to the bathroom? Is she in fact a homeless person or even a camper going to the bathroom herself in a parking lot or in the woods and dealing with IBS?”

        I dont think it is up to the viewer to dertermin what is appropriate or not based on what the sculpture is thinking. If I am understanding you correctly (Please correct me if I am wrong), you are saying that a nude David is okay because it represents David contemplating his battle with Goliath, but this piece is not okay because of her pose. I dont see how that is relevant at all. I am sure that I could do a little research (I am not exactly educated in fine art) and come up with hundreds of nude sculptures that were accepted in public places by the public, with less controversy than this. I was simply using David as a very popular piece that everyone knows.

        If all it takes is a sculptures thoughts to be publicized, for it to be publicly accepted, maybe we should give this sculpture a thought, or backstory so we can end this rediculousness.

        Here are my ideas:
        1) She got sucked into an interest only ARM and the payment balooned. Her house was foreclosed on and she lost the shirt off her back. Now she is crouching down trying to keep everyone from seeing her.
        2) She was sitting in the privacy of the restroom at Rooty’s when all of a sudden the walls were torn down around her.
        3) Amnesia victim on her way to highline hospital. She is not sure where her clothes went, but all of a sudden she ended up in an open parking lot.

        I am not sure what her thoughts or intentions are, but if this helps it get accepted, than I am all for making up scenarios.

        • Burien Dweller says:

          Most great works of art are inspired by something or someone. I wasn’t trying to say that the statue of David is okay and this one isn’t, just that the inspiration behind the piece can make it more palatable. Given there is no publicized story, I feel sorry for this statue. Here is a woman who is made vulnerable by her nakedness, squatting in a subservient position, with a tired and worried look on her face. Rather than given the respect and needs all humans deserve (such as clothing and shelter), she is placed in a parking lot behind some buildings. I think she deserves more. If there is a story, it should be told so that this piece can provoke higher thoughts of solving her problems rather than the more childish discussion of “ooh she is naked, do we look or not”.

  6. Ian Gunsul says:

    Back in the 60’s my mother belonged to a group of local residents who worked hard to bring a little culture to Burien. First there was the Burien Book Fair that also had ‘artists in action’, then that later evolved into the Burien Arts Festival. Those events raised money to help fund the library we just closed and start-up the Burien Arts Gallery. Their hard work brought art from the city out here to the suburbs.
    Art comes in various forms, and though I enjoy many different styles, I admit not all of them are my cup of tea. But to censor art because it offends someone else’s sensibilities or morals is just wrong.
    Remember The Constitution? “Freedom of expression”?
    Art that leans toward “mild pornographic” expression or more does indeed need to be in a more controlled setting, but do you think your offspring aren’t subjected to worse on a daily basis on television and the internet than what is on display at the B/IAS? I would think that a parent would rather have their children grow up with an appreciation of art than how many kill points they can rack up on their home gaming system.

  7. Milississippi says:

    I love it. Wish we had one in my neighborhood.

    I am a mother of 2 children that is raising my children to be moral and well grounded. I don’t believe nudity is immoral, nor does it sexualize children. It isn’t sexy, I doubt it makes very many people, if any, feel sexual. It isn’t any more sexual than paintings that I have seen at the Seattle Art Museum in years past. Their is a big difference between sexuality and nudity.

    People really need to get a grip. It’s not like she is selling coffee in pasties or anything…

    • Sarah says:

      Very well put! I, too, am a mother trying to raise a “moral and grounded” child and don’t find anything about this statue that would compromise this in any way. You are right that there is nothing sexual about this sculpture. Art has the wonderful capacity to express many things, in this case the female form in a very natural and beautiful way that is both moving and thought provoking. Like you I am proud to have it in my neighborhood!

  8. C-Dogg says:

    I have 3 school-age boys, and while I don’t have a problem with them seeing the sculpture I know they won’t be appreciating it as an “art” piece. They will be giggling and pointing out her “girl parts” and whispering to each other. As a tired mom I probably won’t take my boys by the sculpture just so I can avoid having to settle them down afterwards. Easy parenting (call it lazy if you want) is how I’m voting.

    • Verde says:

      I’m guessing that you’re a fine parent and have generally nice kids. However, my knee-jerk reaction to the way you worded your post – which I know is how many parents are thinking – is:

      Yes, avoid it at all costs. In fact, just keep your kids home, period. You can continue your lazy parenting, and you won’t have to worry as they continue to behave inappropriately when confronted with anything “different”. Whatever you do, don’t use it as a forum for discussion with your kids. Just hustle them by, so they don’t embarrass you with their inappropriate behavior. Which then makes a bigger deal out of it so they act out more each time, as it gets such a great reaction out of you. And then they start doing it with real people, and so on and so on, until they’re obnoxious adults who whistle and hoot at women from their cars and try to grope them at bars. Whatever you do, don’t use this as a teaching tool for them to learn to respect art, women, whatever.

      All in all, when I was a kid, I would have been thrilled if this was the statue that was on display as the public art near our house. Instead, my mom used to ride her bike daily (with me on the back) past the Chinese warriors at Volunteer Park (they’re now downtown at SAM). For some reason, maybe because they were tall and so stern-looking, they scared the hell out of me – I thought they were going to come after me one day. This woman looks like a woman we all might know. She’s striking a pose many of us have struck – it’s all just too much, gotta think, need to clear my head – I’ve done it, we all have one of those days. She doesn’t seem terrifying at all unless you’ve got issues with a normal, non-Baywatch female body, as so many of us have.

  9. Sue C says:

    With all the new things added it is like taking a trip back to the sixtys :o)

  10. Sue C says:

    The whole thing reminds me of a trip back to the sixtys. With all the new things it is being to get a little “out there.”

  11. mark says:

    I have seen the sculpture, it is wonderful. It should not even be considered conterversial unless you happen to think that the human form is verboten. Thru the ages the image of the human form has been displayed in artwork so burien my message is grow up!

  12. Michelle says:

    In the beginning of all time and to this very day -all humans were/are “accepted” as they enter this world,- undressed, uneducated, unknowing, and un-judged. Why does the human body Male or Female need to be covered in an unatural way as if we THINK we can Better its PERFECTLY CREATED beauty with our version?(Clothes)? It is perfect and should be exhibited as it was meant to be, appreciated for what it is-REAL!

    Take a look in the mirror- the Nordstrom outfit you are looking at is nothing but an illusion, you are my equal, this statue represents nothing more than REAL- Natural human beings. At their BEST.

  13. Pete says:

    I saw a woman just like her at the Burien Group Health clinic. She was squatting and relieving herself in the parking lot. For many Orientals this is a very comfortable position because they can bend their ankles far enough, so that the entire foot rests on the ground. If you try squatting like the sculpture, you’ll find that it is very tiring because you have to balance constantly on the balls of your feet. If you wear high heeled shoes, like the woman In the parking lot at Group Health, it works much better. Also, look at your feet when you squat: Very few wrinkles on the front side of your feet. The sculpture is wrong on that account. In her right hand she should hold a roll of TP, or at least a napkin. It’s a wonderful sculpture!

  14. Jamesha Walker says:

    To call the female nude “obscene”, to me, is like wanting certain women, who aren’t to society’s liking, dead. Women’s bodies AREN’T “obscene”, so to call them that is just heinous! Women aren’t inferior to men! That sculpture is art because that’s how it was made. Also, I’ve had nightmares about women getting gang raped and murdered by a gang of abusive hoodlums who saw them as “obscene” and wanted them dead! How morally wrong and offensive!

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