humor art gallery controversy
Image: Albert Bierstadt, public domain

In an unprecedented move, a southern Utah art gallery has decided to host an exhibit of paintings of mountains, leaving the international art scene in an uproar and prompting a severe backlash in the local community.

ARTNews magazine has called the exhibit “shocking,” noting that it “blurs the boundaries between art and total chaos.”

“I’m just not sure what they’re thinking,” said local resident and 36-year-old father Don Brick. “Any child can come in here and see this. I get that it’s art, but that doesn’t make it right. I don’t want my daughter to see this kind of smut.”

The gallery has defended its actions, citing artistic integrity and constitutional freedoms.

“While I admit that it doesn’t happen everyday, this is hardly the first time a gallery has hosted paintings of mountains,” said curator Juliet LaFevre. “Our job is to present art in its rawest form, not to cower under the societal pressures of a stodgy retirement community. Furthermore, it’s supposed to be provocative—it’s art for crying out loud—but it’s a far cry from pornography. Most of the mountains are at least partially obscured by tastefully-placed foliage or wildlife.”

“This is an art gallery, not a titty show,” she added.

Hansen Brundle, an artist whose work is featured in the exhibit, says that it doesn’t matter to him whether people understand or accept his art so much as how it communicates with them.

“I’m not concerned about whether a viewer likes a piece. I only want to touch that viewer in a very private place,” he said. “Even children. I particularly want to touch children in a special, private place they may not even know they have yet. The younger, the better.”

“I remember being touched that way when I was only five,” he added. “I had no idea what was happening to me. It changed my life forever.”

“I think it’s incredible,” said local homemaker Bindy Lunt, 24. “I grew up in a very conservative atmosphere. I was only allowed to see Manzoni’s ‘Artist’s Shit’ or Andres Serrano’s ‘Piss Christ,’ or live performances of Hermann Nitsch’s ‘Orgien Mysterien Theatre’—you know, that kind of fluff. But my father would never have allowed this kind of thing under our roof. Over his dead body.”

“Heck, it wasn’t until college that I even saw my first mesa or plateau,” she added. “I never knew that mountains really look like that! It’s kind of hard to believe that we would have this sort of exhibit here. I found it to be both empowering and arousing. This area really is becoming more progressive.”

At press time, the gallery was under pressure by the City Council to deny admittance of minors to the exhibit and had already removed the condom dispensers and disco balls from its bathrooms.