Re: Public displaying of Nude Art
The subject line of this thread is PUBLIC DISPLAYING OF NUDE ART, which means Jeff Koon's photography is not part of the equation. He isn't doing nude/naked public art (yet). He may be guilty of aesthetic obscenity by many artistic measures with his kitsch ceramic endeavors, but that isn't public art either.
Most/many of the points expressed in this thread are moot at the point of departure and others are gross generalizations. When art is put in a public arena, community standards are always (ALL WAYS) part of the equation. If the intent of the artist is aesthetic grace & beauty or shock & awe isn't the question, there is a time & place for everything and not all communities are enamored by a confrontation with the naked human form occupying a public place that they frequent.
I don't find driving around town with a nude mounted on top of a vehicle to be a particularly clever way to promote the nude form as public art or as a good method of fighting censorship. Install the sculpture in the environment it was intended and invite me to come see it.
There are no cities in America that allow you to lawfully walk down the street in the nude, but there are places you can go and get publicly naked. There are few public art projects made with the intention of being confrontational that succeed. Part of this discussion isn't about freedom of speech at all, but the right to flaunt self expression in public with a total disregard towards the local community's opinion.
There is also a big difference between permanent public works and temporary installations. The Mark Quinn sculpture was temporary in Tralfalgar Square, just as Jean Tinguely's huge penis in Milan (which didn't cause a big stink in 1970) was only there a short time. Many things that are known to be temporary are much easier to accept in the public domain, which allows for many works of art to be exhibited and gain understanding from a very skeptical audience.
I have been involved in many exhibitions in public spaces where nudity (and particularly penises) had to be dealt with tactfully. Never underestimate the public reponse when you place art in a space that they consider theirs.