From the Queens Tribune:
The work depicts a cherub-faced, nearly-naked man who oddly resembles actor Matt Damon standing victorious over vice and corruption, as embodied by two strange siren/mermaid hybrids, their faces and bodies crumpled in visible agony...
U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Kew Gardens) and Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst) held a tongue-in-cheek press conference damning the artwork as sexist and insensitive to women, calling for its sale via Craigslist.
"It's ugly and offensive today and we want it out of Queens," Weiner said. "It represents an eyesore. This statue is neither civil nor virtuous - and it's time for it to go."
But defenders of the statue lambasted the electeds' claims, criticizing their misinterpretation of an artistic work. More than differing interpretations, some outlined a notable point: after having laced history books with notorious surnames like Donald Manes, Alan Hevesi, Brian McLaughlin, Anthony Seminerio and Hiram Monserrate, maybe a sculpted rock is the closest Queens can come to actual civic virtue.
And our old friend Sergey weighed in on the controversy:
To The Editor:
With an ongoing recession and a civil war brewing in Libya, it was unbelievable to see my local congressman grandstanding before the press to remove "Triumph of Civic Virtue," the famed but neglected nude sculpture, from the lawn of Borough Hall. If Anthony Weiner had some appreciation of art history, he would understand that the image is an allegory, and not an endorsement of chauvinism. It is shameful enough to live in a borough where history is paved over by development and crumbling away in neglect.
Now, we have the forces of political correctness working to destroy our borough's history. The fact that the statue was designed by Frederick MacMonnies, sculpted by the Piccirilli brothers, and funded by a woman named Angelina Crane does not deter Weiner. Neither does the fact that my mother, who happens to be a woman and a voter, finds no offense with the statue, and is more offended by the ongoing recession and rising gas prices.
As an art educator, I tell my students that a monument serves as a physical link to the past, its ideas and its imagery. Even fascist, communist and Confederate monuments have much to teach us about the societies they represented, as opposed to a society that only cares about its own moment in the sun.
Perhaps some elected officials would prefer a rootless Queens, where a Flushing film palace is collapsing, space-age towers from the 1964 World's Fair are rusting, and an allegorical statue that condemns corruption is crumbling. I pray that Queens will be saved for future generations to cherish.
Greenwood Cemetery has expressed interest.
And Weiner's proposal has made him look like an ass country-wide!