Nude Venus De Milo statue outside Arts and Sciences symbolize problems with UNO art


We pass her every day. In the winter she is covered in layers, but she’s nude in the summer.  Confident and pretty, we’ve all eyed her up and down- most of us too many times to count. No, I’m not a pervert, and I’m not accusing anybody else of being one either. I’m talking about the nude female zinc sculpture outside of Arts and Sciences.
A replica of Michaelangelo’s Venus De Milo, the sculpture was donated by 2003 alumna Martha Page and produced around 1880 by American ironworks company J.W. Fiske of New York. The gesture of gifting the campus with this seemingly beautiful piece of art was lovely, but I’m not sure why we display it on our campus if it’s nothing more than a glorified lawn ornament.
Beautiful but a fraud of a statue during the warmer months, it’s wrapped in dingy tarp once the temperature chills, becoming a giant eyesore for anybody walking onto campus from the East garage.
Not only is the thing just a pretty giant lawn gnome, but what statement is UNO making about women when displaying a half-naked sculpture of Venus? I see no replicas of the Statue of David, but UNO’s administration seems to have no problem boldly displaying Venus in all her indecency. I suppose it’s okay for women to be ogled at, but god forbid the same is done for the male form on our campus.  The piece reminds us of old Roman sculptures; however, both men and women  in little clothing were depicted there. Not only this, but what does a replica of Venus have to do with UNO or the community here? Shouldn’t the art on our campus represent us?
But it really doesn’t matter that we have a naked lawn ornament here at UNO when a bigger problem exists with most of UNO’s art. We have pieces from both local professionals and nationally-known artists, but it seems hard to find any pieces made by UNO students. When walking through the halls of Weber Fine Arts, I am amazed at the talent that is blooming here as I  look at student artwork. I know student art is sparingly displayed in some buildings, but I’d like to see more of it on campus.  We seem more willing to showcase a zinc replica that doesn’t represent UNO at all than our own artists’ work.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Every artist was first an amateur.” Let’s support the amateurs here and provide them the support they need to become artists.