Topless Blue Woman Stirs up Controversy in Torrington

Provocative painting launches debate about art

The topless woman stands confidently, causing trouble in Torrington. She's a painting. Some call it art. Others call it flat out obscene. 

If you live in Torrington or have strolled downtown, you are sure to have seen the work. The life-size blue woman stands in the window of Artwell Gallery, one foot forward, arms overhead and baring her violet breasts to everyone who passes by. The piece is by Goshen artist Danielle Mailer -- the daughter of Norman Mailer.

The controversy started in late July when Artwell’s opened up its “Salon des Refuses” exhibit, the Waterbury Republican-American reports.

Once the blue breasts went on displayed, Torrington police got an anonymous complaint. So cops went out on what might be one of the most bizarre police investigations and examined the bare-breasted work. 

Officers asked a gallery volunteer to temporarily remove the painting while they investigated, the Republican-American reports.

"I thought it was baloney," Pam Bogert, who replaced the work, told the newspaper. "I don't believe Artwell wants to be known as the art gallery that censors artists."

Police later agreed there was no reason to pull the painting. A police spokesman told the newspaper that the issue had been resolved and that "no action should be taken on this matter should any other complaints be received."

Bogert stands by the painting.

"We're an art gallery. It's a blue and purple woman. It's gorgeous, but it's certainly not realistic. I mean you don't see many blue people walking around," she said.

Objections to the work have prompted the gallery to hold a public forum on the difference between art and obscenity on Aug. 29.

The painting is expected to remain in the Gallery window until the exhibit closes Sept. 13.

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