The highly-publicized sculpture of a naked, serene-looking, Britney Spears on all-fours giving birth on a bear skin rug was unveiled to a large crowd at Capla Kesting Fine Arts in Brooklyn on Friday, April 7.
Most people headed straight to the rear end of the figure for the glimpse that wasn’t shown in the ubiquitous press photos—the head of the baby emerging. (For the record, Ms. Spears had a caesarean section.)
Artist Daniel Edwards, a portrait sculptor who normally works on private commissions, said of Monument to Pro-Life: The Birth of Sean Preston, “I wanted to broaden the definition of what pro-life is.” Despite the title, Edwards refused to say he was anti-abortion: “I wouldn’t pass judgment on anyone for not having their child.”
The sculpture was made without Ms. Spears’ collaboration or knowledge.
Edwards has generated publicity before with his death mask of baseball legend Ted Williams’ cryogenically frozen head, shown at the First Street gallery in September, 2005.
A glass cabinet at Capla Kesting displayed pro-life literature, and one pro-life activist was present, shaking hands with people saying, “It’s about time, don’t you think?”
A couple of pranksters wore t-shirts with the slogans “C-Sections are for Christina Aguilera,” and “I’m pregnant, pro-life, and smokin’.”
Gallerist David Kesting said of the sculpture’s provocative title, “Sometimes people have to be hit over the head with a hammer.”
After handing a bundle of bills to a gallery assistant to fund another beer run, Kesting explained why the pro-life leaflets were sealed in a cabinet. “As long as I’m running this gallery we will never distribute pro-life material.” Kesting added, “Some people came here expecting an April fool's and were disappointed they didn’t get it. But as a pro-choice advocate, I see a lot of irony in it. It’s so sexualized it’s been upsetting a lot of pro-life people.”
Kesting says his gallery partner Lincoln Capla, as it turns out, is pro-life.
A bronze cast of the sculpture costs $135,000.