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Only in America

February 21, 2005

In Detroit, an artist will go to jail today. His crime? Recreating a Michaelangelo mural that includes a nude figure:

He painted Eve as God created her: nude.
And when he finished including the bare-bosomed Biblical first woman, he inscribed the word “love” on the mural that covers the outside wall of his Roseville art studio.
In Ed (Gonzo) Stross’ eyes, his variation on Michelangelo’s “Creation of Man” mural is art.
In 39A District Judge Marco Santia’s eyes, it’s a crime.
Santia ordered jail time, a fine and probation — a sentence that sounds a little harsh to a state senator, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan and fellow artists.
Santia ordered Stross, 43, to serve 30 days in jail, do two years’ probation and pay a $500 fine for violating a city sign ordinance. Roseville officials said letters were prohibited on the mural and Eve’s exposed chest is indecent.
Besides jail time and the fee, Stross is to tastefully cover Eve’s breasts before reporting to the Macomb County Jail on Monday morning, and to paint over “love” by May 1.
“Removing the work is the ultimate punishment. The jail time is nothing compared to removing what I painted,” Stross said Thursday.

Full story here. You can call the 39th District Court at (586) 293-3137 (sorry, no email address) — ask to speak to the “Honorable” Marco Santia. Thankfully, the Michgan ACLU is on the case.
Link via Art Crime’s excellent new blog, The Bench, photo taken from the Detroit Free Press.

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