Rubbing Botero the wrong way

Adam by Botero – Photo by Dan Brinzac

“I had a customer here who was laughing, saying, ‘You can see his peepee is a different color because people are always touching it,’ ” recalled a store manager who requested not to be identified.

A building worker, who also asked that his name not be used, said, “Legend would have it that when they put him in here, he wasn’t smiling.”

Justin Kugel, 28, a student who was shopping last night, said, “I’ve seen people rubbing it and having their picture taken. That’s kind of gross.”

There’s a Botero statue of Eve nearby — and some people pat her bountiful booty, another shop owner said.

David Benrimon, who owns a Manhattan art gallery with “one of the largest collections of Botero in the world,” said the artist was not aware of the personal attention “Adam” was getting.

“I was with him. I didn’t mention it,” Benrimon said. “It’s interaction in art. People like to touch.”

[From Shoppers at the Time Warner Center rub Botero statue’s genitalia –]

The sculptures of Adam and Eve by Botero are receiving some close attention at the Time Warner center, so much so that the repeated rubbing has changed the color of the bronze patina on Adam’s penis to a gold that helps it really stand out.

I can’t decide if I’m thrilled or horrified by all this.. on one hand people are interacting with art, they’re enjoying it and it’s making an impact in a positive way – so that’s all good. but on the other, they’re all seeing everything in the most puerile light! I guess it’s to be expected that the lowest common denominator will prevail, but must it always be so low? or should we be glad that nudes are being celebrated, that nobody seems to care that they’re nudes and in the public eye (and hands)?

What do you think? is this ultimately a victory or a setback? what would Botero think?

2 thoughts on “Rubbing Botero the wrong way

  1. A long time ago, in another life, I worked in the Physics Dept at UWA. We were relocated to a new, modern, building and the powers that be sent to Italy for a sculpture on the theme of “Physics”. Errors occurred in translation and we ended with a life-sized bronze of an athlete scraping himself with a strigil. He was continually (wo)man-handled to the extent that it was necessary to paint the bronzed portion of his anatomy so as to blend with the patina of the remainder of the statue.

    Of couse he was often dressed in totally inappropriate costumes as each new year of students discovered him.

    (I still have a photograph of my soon to be (and still is) wife sitting on his plinth, hugging his leg and gazing adoringly upwards 🙂

  2. Where I did my post-graduate studies there was a big statue of some naked Greek hero and part of the initiation into the sororities on campus was to kiss the statue’s penis at midnight. I guess people react to nudity this way in repressed societies.

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