PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The historic painting may be called “Innocence”, but the controversy surrounding a picture of it, is getting all the attention.
The newest Mercer County Courthouse has been standing for more than 100-years. It’s hard to guess how many people have gazed up 166-feet at the four murals painted on the rotunda ceiling. They likely have more serious things on their minds.
One of those paintings, with the classical figure’s right breast exposed, is causing the controversy. Not the painting itself, but a picture of the painting hanging at the Mt. Lebanon library.
“I never thought there was anything controversial about any of the photos,” says artist John Flatz of South Park.
His 30-architectural are being exhibited at the Mt. Lebanon Public Library. He contends that he was asked by a librarian to replace the photo showing the exposed breast.
“They wanted me to swap the photo for something else because they thought people might object to it,” says Flatz.
So Flatz decided to protest what he says was censorship.
“I cut out a picture of a breast covered by a bra from a magazine and taped that over the breast.”
Someone has since removed that protest.
Mt. Lebanon Public Library Director Cynthia Richey, who is out of the country, says that Flatz was never asked to take the photo down. Richey says the library does have guidelines that reflect Pennsylvania obscenity laws, but that the photo was in no way a violation. She added that no one has been offended, and they’ve had no complaints.
Richey says: “Our library is a forum for unfettered expression, presenting all points of view”
John Flatz is first to agree that he’s enjoying his 15-minutes of fame.
“It was an opportunity for something like this for me to get some publicity for myself too.”