BYU Moves Photos to Less Prominent Spot

BYU Moves Photos to Less Prominent Spot

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PROVO, Utah (AP) -- Brigham Young University officials have moved three photographs out of the main gallery into a less prominent place in the Harris Fine Arts Center.

"This (the relocation) was an internal decision, and the reason it was made was that these were photos that required reflection," said BYU spokeswoman Carri P. Jenkins. "They belonged in an environment where viewers can interpret this work with reflection."

The photos were by photography major Christopher Melton. One depicted a fashionably dressed woman hoisting a skinned lamb. The others showed women with apples.

Melton said he is not upset with the relocation, which he said was sensitive to concerns others may have about the artwork but respected the need for art to be studied and talked about instead of censored.

"I felt that it would be easy for them to just take it down and not start any controversy," Melton said. "I'm just grateful for them to see the value in art but still respect people who did complain."

Jenkins was unaware of any complaints about the exhibit.

Artwork on display in the main gallery of the center does not require a statement from the artist. However, Melton was asked to post a statement a few days after the display's debut. Melton said it was a good idea because it provided more understanding to the meaning of his photographs.

In his statement, he said he took the photos when he was collaborating with a fashion designer known for juxtaposing elegant fabrics with ones that are rough. One of the designs was a high-fashion dress that had a slit held together with deer ribs.

That's where he got the idea for the woman hoisting a lamb carcass, which he bought from a meat distributor in New York.

Melton said he wanted to contrast glossy fashion images with raw images and religious iconography. The use of apples in two of the photos was meant to suggest an Eve figure, and the hoisted lamb alludes to Old Testament stories of lamb sacrifices

He said that the woman hoisting the lamb reminds him of bearing a cross.

"I don't have a set belief on it (the photo), but the viewer can see it as either lifting the carcass as a burden or supporting it as a belief," Melton said.

"Obviously I don't want people to be offended, but I want there to be a personal dialogue where it will evoke emotions and feelings hopefully in relation with their religious beliefs, and incite them to investigate their feelings," Melton said.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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