- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 25, 2015

BISBEE, Ariz. (AP) - An art gallery in Bisbee is closing its doors just six months after it opened after the gallery operators and their landlords couldn’t agree on where the line falls between art and pornography.

Windows Gallery operators Meggen Connolley and Eric Meyer chose to close their gallery rather than be censored, according to the Sierra Vista Herald (https://goo.gl/kvc4SW).

The gallery opened in June and it wasn’t until their latest exhibit featuring paintings by artist Eric Kasper and photographs by Ty McNeely, opened Nov. 14 that they had any problems.

When Connolley and Meyer heard from their landlord, they were told seven paintings were considered offensive. Building co-owner Scott Ries asked the gallery operators to remove the paintings.

Meyer said the controversy was over nudity, which he said Ries called pornographic.

“I said to Scott that was his own interpretation of the art,” said Connolley.

Connolley says the building’s owners deemed seven paintings inappropriate and asked that they be covered or removed from the gallery.

Some of Kasper’s work shows nude or partial nude bodies. Connolley said she expected the complaints to center around a painting that depicted two women standing over two infants. One child’s genitals are exposed. Some paintings show breasts or genitals of men and horses.

Ries said he appreciates Connolley and Meyer and what they were doing, but that some of the paintings were not appropriate. He said he didn’t notice the offensive content at the show opening because he didn’t look closely at the art.

“If you don’t focus on it, you can miss it,” he said. “The one with the children was sexual and pornographic. You almost had to get down on your knees to see it because it was at the bottom of the frame.”

Connolley said she understands the opinions of Ries and Michael Page, who was the building liaison to the gallery, but that she did not envision censorship when she planned the gallery.

“I don’t have any animosity toward them,” Connolley said. “They offered us the chance to have a really cool gallery, but I’m not going to run a gallery if you are going to come in and tell me what I can put up and not put up.”

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Information from: Sierra Vista Herald, https://www.svherald.com

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