In a world where shorts are getting shorter, advertisements are getting racier, and pornography is just a few clicks away, the mere sight of a pair of men’s briefs isn’t usually controversial, reports the Tornoto Star
“A Queen’s University fine arts student found out that men’s underthings are apparently still too titillating to be put on display. At the end of April, David Woodward agreed to show his art at a university donor appreciation event. He said the event’s organizers gave him guidelines on the size of the work and how it was to be presented, but not on what the actual art could or could not consist of.
“Woodward chose to display his project titled “All I Am is What I’ve Felt,” which consists of 10 pairs of men’s underwear embroidered with images, text or both, that are tacked onto a wall or a white board. The work is an examination of gender, sexuality and intimacy, he says.
“The 22-year-old student, who will graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts this month, said he chose to show that project because it was his final thesis work for the program, he believed it would inspire discussion, and because he is proud of it.
“It was the most accurate representation of my artistic practice at this point in time,” he said in an interview. He also said he sent the organizers a link to his website, which features photos of his work including the one he chose to display, a week before the event. No one expressed any reservations, he said. One pair of underwear features a phrase that includes a swear word. The day of the event, he brought the work in and set it up. Not long after, he said he was told by members of the event’s organizing team that the art was supposed to serve as a “nice background,” that his work was “inappropriate” and would make attendees “uncomfortable.” He said he said then was told to take it down before anyone arrived, and he did. Another student had brought painted landscapes to display, and didn’t have any problems, he said. Woodward has exhibited the work before and based on past responses, he wasn’t surprised at the organizers’ reaction. But he said he didn’t expect them to ask him to leave. The next day, he spoke to Tom Harris, vice-president of advancement at Queen’s, who apologized for the incident.”