Censorship sells

January 24, 1992

Austrian artist Josef Schutzenhofer owes a lot to the Frederick County legislative delegation's attempts to appease critics of an anti-war painting depicting President Bush in the nude. The work, on display at the Delaplaine Visual Arts Center in Frederick, has offended a number of people, and reports of the painting have apparently outraged others who haven't even seen it. Frederick County lawmakers responded by delaying the introduction of a bill that would provide $500,000 in matching funds for the center to renovate an old mill as a permanent home.

Naturally, this publicity has increased the number of visitors to the center -- and aroused interest in purchasing the 6-by-8 foot canvas. Melinda Wimer, executive director of the museum, acknowledged this week the oil painting sold quickly for the $4,000 asking price. There's nothing like a lucrative sale to show how censorship attempts can teach an artist the value of controversy.

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