For an exhibition starting tomorrow, Canterbury Museum planned to display items including English metal band Cradle of Filth’s “Vestal Masturbation” t-shirts.
The clothing, the subject of several controversies and prosecutions worldwide over the years, featured an obscene slogan about Jesus on one side and a picture of a semi-naked nun masturbating on the other.
Conservative lobby group Family First called the exhibit “horrific” and “offensive” and was appealing to authorities, the public and the museum to take action.
Bob McCoskrie, the group’s national director, said he was complaining to police because he needed to “warn families” and dismissed suggestions his complaint would simply give the exhibit more attention.
“It’s a free exhibition in a public museum.”
Mr McCoskrie understood the museum received an “exemption” to display the t-shirts, even though he said both the Internal Affairs Department and Invercargill District Court had in the past deemed the shirt offensive.
“We don’t think it’s art.”
He wanted the t-shirts removed and would encourage people to boycott the museum if it didn’t show a “moral conscience” and take the display down.
” We don’t think any group should be subjected to this level of vile hate language,” he added.
Museum defends masturbating nun t-shirt exhibition
OneNews 13 February 2015
Canterbury Museum says it is sorry if an exhibition featuring a t-shirt showing a masturbating nun has upset people but it is standing by its decision and will not censor its shows.
More than 3000 people have signed a petition against the exhibition in Christchurch. The t-shirt, which is in an R18 area at the exhibition, features a semi-naked nun masturbating on one side and offensive wording about Jesus on the other side.
The Taxpayers’ Union has slammed it as a waste of ratepayer money, Family First NZ is laying a complaint with police about the t-shirt while the YMCA has also spoken out.
However, Museum director Anthony Wright says they sought and were given permission by the Office of the Chief Censor to run the t-shirt, arguing that it was within the context of the show.
“We knew that we couldn’t show it without permission. So we applied to the Office of the Chief Censor and I’m pleased to say that we were granted an exemption to show the t-shirt in this exhibition – but within the context of a scholarly look at the history of t-shirts – a well-curated show and with obviously the appropriate warnings.”