Body Heat Ignites An East Coast Winter

I walked into David Zelikovsky’s Gallery on Christopher Street to interview him and Megan Hanford, the model in his window, part of Brian Reed’s ‘Through the Heart of it all’.

Before exchanging many robust ideas about nudity in art and on Christopher Streert, David asked if I knew about the New Jersey snow woman. A friend tipped me when I returned home.

Maria Conneran and brother Jack Shearing’s snowman prompted an anonymous complaint to local police. Their Snowlady was worthy of starring in a Dove ‘Real Woman’ campaign and not some skinny Barbie doll.

In fact, Snowlady was modeled after one of the greatest muses in world history Venus de Milo. Created at some time between 130 and 100 BC, it is believed to depict Aphrodite (Venus to the Romans) the Greek goddess of love and beauty.

While pudgy snowboys lined the streets of Rahway, NJ, Snowlady got a makeover. Mom Elisa Gonzalez admits that the snowbabe was “curvaceous, bodacious and booty-licious” - but not obscene.

“I thought she looked more objectified and sexualized after you put the bikini on,” Gonzalez, told the Newark Star-Ledger.

From my point of view, I agree that the art form is lost and Snowlady was objectified in her bikini top.

After a few moments of interpreting the meaning of Snowlady with Megan Hanford and David Zelikovsky, we got down to vibrant discussion about the naked lady in the window.

Our conversation didn’t focus only on art. We travelled into religion, body image, anorexia and men’s gaze on women — all the forbidden topics in American culture.

Reactions to Brian Reed’s exhibit have been mixed, a fact we cited in our original story last weekend.

As I left the gallery this afternoon, a young mother walked by with her daughter, probably three yrs. old and positively enchanted with Megan’s pose in the window.

Based on her visible delight and beaming face, mom’s response was equally notable. Mom lingered with her daughter, when we expected a young hand being yanked down the sidewalk.  In total, I believe that America has become significantly more conservative about body image.

Consider the pamphlet handed to Bristol, Virginia fast-food worker Keshia Cantor: “You may have been given this leaflet because of the way you are dressed,” it begins. “Have you thought about standing before the true and living God to be judged?” via AC Daily News

The pamphlet then suggests that women like Cantor, me and Megan Hanford deserve to be raped for wearing my blue shirt in public. We’re the vixens. More to come on this topic, as religion weighs in today on abortion and health care. There will be no health care reform if women’s abortion rights aren’t further curtailed. That’s the deal, kiddos. Anne


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