In the suburban city of San Leandro, a 55-foot-tall statue of a naked woman dancing at a local technology park has turned a few heads since it was unveiled last Tuesday -- especially at a nearby BART station, where the statue can be seen from the train platform. But despite reports, representatives from the group that installed the statue say it's not as controversial as some may say.
The 13,000-pound, five-story steel mesh statue Truth Is Beauty, by local sculptor Marco Cochrane, was unveiled Oct. 18 to a crowd of hundreds at the San Leandro Tech Campus. Days later, the Associated Press reported that the statue was "stirring controversy," but besides the commuters that were quoted, few have protested publicly since the statue was installed.
Some outrage was expressed when plans for the statue were announced, in 2015. The San Leandro Times received about four letters railing against the statue, including one from 79-year-old resident Gerry Isham (a woman who was repeatedly and incorrectly identified as a man by the press) that had the delicious quote, "Truth is beauty, but tacky is forever."
"I really don't think there is that much controversy," San Leandro Times editor Jim Knowles said. "I think people got a bad impression from a photo that ran. The photo was if the statue when it was out in the desert during Burning Man, when you could see it a hundred miles away. It just stood over everything and didn't give an accurate picture of what it really looked like."
"It was a bigger controversy at the beginning, when people were first hearing about it," Westlake Urban managing director Gaye Quinn said. "Then, as we were able to unpack the message behind the art, then it really started to resonate with people. We knew the controversy was lessening when women on Facebook started changing their profile pictures to shots of Truth Is Beauty."