While the Chronicle has painted it as an ongoing "controversy," it appears that there are still only a few people who object to the fact that artist Marco Cochrane's 55-foot sculpture "Truth Is Beauty," first displayed at Burning Man in 2013, is getting installed in a public plaza near the BART station in San Leandro. The City of San Leandro announced the acquisition of the sculpture as a public art piece last year, and this week the feet and calves of the enormous, dancing woman made of steel and LEDs began to rise at the San Leandro Tech Campus.
Some persnickety citizens have been put off by the sculpture's nudity and expressiveness since the announcement was made, with one 45-year-old resident telling the San Leandro Times last year, "Truth is beauty, but tacky is forever. I don’t think she is porn, but I don’t think she fits into the art category, maybe craft."
And now those naysayers are back, with one area woman telling CBS 5, "I really liked it. I think it’s a beautiful sculpture. Obviously, the artist is extremely talented. But I’m not sure it’s appropriate for public display. I think it’s better suited for a museum where people have the option about whether that’s something they want their children to view."
Of course there's nothing offensive about it in the slightest, and the developer Westlake Urban, says the majority of comments they've heard have been positive and just a small number of people continue to make noise.
City Manager Chris Zappata told CBS 5 that the sculpture will hopefully have some impact on the typically male-dominated tech culture. "There is a dearth of representation of women in the tech industry," he says, "And this hopefully will start to bring attention to that problem as well as bring public art to our community."
Cochrane last week told the East Bay Times, "I think the sculpture has a job in the world to draw attention to something, and I think that this [developer] is really actively doing what we were hoping for. Their effort to create a women-friendly tech center is, to me, very important without women, we're not going to make it, and I mean that on the most profound level, because if it's just men working at it, we're just going to cause the same types of problems."
The sculpture, the second of three monumental pieces Cochrane has created for Burning Man celebrating female empowerment, self-love, and beauty, was inspired as a response to the abduction and rape of his best friend from childhood. The first in the series, "Bliss Dance" (2011), was briefly installed on Treasure Island before moving to Las Vegas, where it now stands outside the new hotel The Park Vegas.