Embattled Roseville artist Ed “Gonzo” Stross sees his problem this way: He’s painted a formidable mural on the wall of his studio — and he’s facing jail over about 2 square inches, specifically the nekkid-as-God-created-them breasts of Eve in his reproduction of Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam.”
News Hits notes that the Detroit Free Press apparently has a hang-up here as well. The photos illustrating the dispute in our home-delivered Feb. 18 and Feb. 21 editions tastefully ensured that we couldn’t see the supposed source of offense. One day we had Stross’ head blocking our view; next time we saw Stross covering his creation.
This is a matter of some import since the artist has run afoul of a 1997 zoning variance that required him to keep his mural in good condition, to use no lettering and show no genitalia. As News Hits recalls high school anatomy class, mammaries didn’t count as genitalia, but then we’re not 39A District Judge Marco Santia, who last week ordered Stross, 43, to cover the offending ta-tas and spend 30 days in Macomb County Jail. “That’s the real punishment,” Stross tells News Hits after affixing a top — kind of a kicky, retro number — to Eve on Sunday. “When I’m vindicated in court, I’ll be able to bring her out — hopefully.”
Stross was to have begun his jail time on Monday, but was given a stay of at least one day when the American Civil Liberties Union intervened to seek an appeal.
“We’re going to argue that his First Amendment rights have been violated without a doubt,” says Michigan ACLU communications director Wendy Waggenheim. “This is a piece that could hang in any museum. There is nothing that should be censored.”
Stross is pictured above before covering his work, which News Hits would feel like a boob for not showing you.
News Hits would also feel like a boob for not mentioning that Stross’ supporters are holding a fundraiser (for the legal bills) at 8 p.m., March 11, at the Roseclair Eagles Hall, 29500 Little Mack, Roseville.News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette. Those with hot tips, words of praise or snide comments can contact the column at 313-202-8004 or NewsHits@metrotimes.com