Controversial nude statue in Tempe vandalized


by Jennifer Thomas

Posted on May 4, 2012 at 3:45 PM

Updated Sunday, May 6 at 11:47 AM

TEMPE, Ariz. -- A local artist said his controversial nude statue in Tempe was vandalized Thursday night or Friday morning.

The statue of an obese naked woman is on the wall at one of Bill Tonnesen's properties near Rural and Broadway roads.

On Friday morning, Tonnesen discovered someone had vandalized the statue with green paint.

This was the second incident involving the statue this week. Tonnesen said two days ago someone put a crude burlap apron on the statue to cover it up.

Tonnesen said he received permission from the city to display the statue, but the work of art has rubbed some people the wrong way because it is across the street from a preschool and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Roman Catholic Church.

In order to please critics, Tonnesen put $1 bills on the "private parts" in somewhat of a bikini shape. On Friday, those areas had been painted green.

Tonnesen said he is glad the statue wasn't damaged further.

"It's not the worst it could be because they could have just trashed everything," Tonnesen said. "They could have hit her with a hammer, it could have been some gang symbols, graffiti on the walls and it's not … but it still makes me sick."

There were two cameras by the statue, but Tonnesen said they weren't recording.

Tonneson said he is going to have to re-finish and re-paint the statue.