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Brooklyn Street Art

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Prime Nipple and Faring Purth in St. Louis

Posted on April 15, 2014

As you pull yourself away from looking at the latest Kardashian thong photo shoot in Thailand, allow us to redirect you to the supremely offensive painted mural that features the outline of a nipple – right next to the “Nails 2000” sign in a St. Louis parking lot.  Perhaps the dollar store has a nipple cover we could purchase? Should we create a Kickstarter?

Artist Faring Purth has again provoked the public discourse with her painting, and we’ll let her tell you in her own words below about the outrage caused by her stylized female figure and its comportment.

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Faring Purth “Prime” St. Louis , MO. February 2014. (photo © Faring Purth)

Presumably those so offended have also a lawsuit against the City of St. Louis for the horribly offensive titillation of La Rivière by Aristide Maillol – especially her wanton position as she spreads herself across the calm reflective pool by the café in Citygarden. And what about the chopped off woman’s head lying on its side, which this kid seems to have his hands up the nose of?

Listen, we all know about family values, since many of us have families – including the folks who shop at Family Dollar and rent movies at the kiosks there, where the covers of DVDs espouse a healthier image of women in a more wholesome respectful way than this mural, such as the fish net wearing gun toting teens of “Suckerpunch” and the pants-free fetal position of the actress on the cover of “Chained”. Obviously this is the case of an outside artist painting with callous insensitivity and disregard for context and norms of a community.

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Faring Purth “Prime” St. Louis , MO. February 2014. (photo © Faring Purth)

As she talks about her new painting, Faring says, “It’s been an experience to say the least. Unlike anything I could have expected.”

She writes below:

When I landed in St. Louis, I was quickly put in contact with Jason Deem, a very ambitious and soulful  caretaker to many abandoned properties in the South End of the city. We became fast friends & I went on to create and complete “Prime” on the side of one of his buildings, in the growing Cherokee Art District.

“Prime” caught the attention of the community and local press very quickly. There was unexpected criticism of the vulnerable position of her silhouette and the color of her base coat began a rather shocking conversation of the racist and sexist connotations a few locals interpreted her as bearing. That was very quickly followed by legal threats made by Family Dollar towards Deem’s company, South Side Spaces, based on the mural’s inclusion of a nipple – or rather, the outline of a nipple. It was an outline they claimed was deterring costumers from their business.

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Faring Purth “Prime” St. Louis , MO. February 2014. (photo © Faring Purth)

The ongoing conversation I have faced recently, regarding female nudity in my work, continues to surprise me. Here I have become, “a controversial artist,” without any intent or desire… whispering “keep soul” while trying my best to stay out of sight.

I’m continuing to take it all in though, as an ongoing story; Acknowledging and reflecting upon how powerful the female form has become (when expressed in public art) in contrast to highly sexualized, scantily clad, women in nationally broadcasted commercials. We are, after all, working within the American culture, where one can still be so desensitized to the soul resting within and reflecting through, our naked skin, nipples and all.

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Faring Purth “Prime” St. Louis , MO. February 2014. (photo © Faring Purth)

I’m relieved to say that the gratitude and breathlessness of the locals (The murals’ actual audience,) however, greatly outweighed this. The Cherokee community has welcomed me with open arms which has been quite shocking to my system. The experience, overall, has been enlightening, heart-warming, and profoundly touching. We have undoubtably found ourselves in a city eager, hungry, and ready for a dialogue on public expression & the power of contemporary street art; One that I am proud to continue to build upon with the help of a few others.

~Faring Purth

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A shot of the wall before the art went up. St. Louis , MO. February 2014. (photo © Faring Purth)

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Faring Purth “Prime” on the back ground with Jason Deem on top of the truck. St. Louis , MO. February 2014. (photo © Faring Purth)

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Faring Purth “Prime” St. Louis , MO. February 2014. (photo © Jason Deem)

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Here are two items from The River Front Times about the before and after commentary while “Prime” was painted.

http://blogs.riverfronttimes.com/dailyrft/2014/02/artist_faring_purth_cherokee_mural_nebula.php

http://blogs.riverfronttimes.com/dailyrft/2014/03/photos_faring_purths_monumenta.php

 

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