Cooper Union's Giant Breast Will Retire to the Country

If you have walked by Cooper Union on 7th Street in the past couple of weeks, you may have been wondering why there was a giant breast hanging on the wall inside the main event space. Like most giant boobs, it was garnering a lot of attention. We got in contact with Clio Newton, the woman responsible for the tentatively titled "Biggest Titty in the City."

The work is huge; about 12' by 16.' Part of a senior presentation, Newton felt compelled to "make a piece large enough for that one over-sized wall." The breast is charcoal and was completed in her parents' barn. She had to rent a cherry picker in order to reach the top of the breast, answering the age-old question: How do you get to the top of a 16-foot-tall boob?

The piece was part of a larger theme for Newton's art, which focuses around women and their bodies. She told us,

I was interested in how the aggressive scale of the drawing would interact with the icon of the breast: a symbol for something soft and nurturing. I also wanted to see how the round form of the breast would contrast to the angular nature of the new Cooper building. The drawing looks its best at night from outside of the building, just the top of the form and the nipple are visible -- like a majestic, titillating glacier.

It's often assumed that when a majestic and titillating breast is on display, squares will freak out. Not the case, says Newton, who has felt a very positive response to the piece.

We hung around the breast last Friday and asked passersby what they thought of it. Most were amused after peering through the window, and a group of high schoolers giggled after we pointed it out. Were they offended?

"No," one said, laughing, "it's just a boob."

The exhibit ended this weekend, so the breast will have to find a new home. Giant charcoal boobs, like old household pets, go to a farm when their time has come. Clio Newton has plans to hang the piece on a wall of her parents' sheep barn in the country.

[ngreene@villagevoice.com / @nickgreene]


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