Naked aggression

An Irving artist and art instructor whose "penis painting" outraged Irving's mayor took down the painting, but only after the show in which it was exhibited ended.

Laray Polk, whose fight with Irving leaders was recounted in a May 25 Observer news story, decided not to remove from the Irving Arts Center any of the three works that she had submitted for an North Lake College faculty show after some of her colleagues agreed at an Irving Art Board meeting that if one piece was taken down, the whole show should come down.

A few days before the meeting, the center's director Rosie Meng reversed an earlier decision and told Polk her work could remain. But Polk decided it was an "integrity issue," and threatened to pull all her paintings from the exhibit.

Several citizens had complained that Polk's painting depicting two nude males and a painting of penises by another North Lake faculty member were inappropriate for a public gallery.

With the show over, Polk has stored her controversial paintings, a mural-sized painting and a smaller work, in her studio. She is returning the third piece to a private collection.

Still, the controversy surrounding her mural, which Irving Mayor Morris Parrish's wife labeled an "eroticism," may not be so easily put to rest--a cable-access news program wants to do a story on Polk and her art.

But Polk, who initially boasted that she would resist the city's censorship, says she isn't interested in offers that would lead to more discussion of the subject.

"I don't want to deal with it anymore, it's just a nightmare as far as I'm concerned," she said.

--Kim Jarrett

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Kim Jarrett