Local galleries respond to Nipple-gate

by Walter Pierce

Building owner acknowledges kerfuffle over demand that nude paintings be censored: “It wasn't me.”

At least a half dozen (and counting) Downtown gallery spaces will host exhibitions of art that feature the human form, i.e., nudes, during the weekend’s Second Saturday ArtWalk. Galvanized by the prudish response to artist Nicole Touchet’s solo exhibition in her recently former studio in the Gordon Square office building (née historic hotel) — making vague reference to the lease, the property management company ordered her to cover several nude portraits after “complaints” — the galleries have dubbed the event Nude ArtWalk.

Elsa Dimitriadis, the marketing coordinator for Theatre 810 and one of the organizers of Nude ArtWalk, tells The IND interest in the event has exploded over the last couple of days.

“It’s heartening to see the art community come together to support each other — not just visual artists but also performers, musicians, dancers, et cetera,” Dimitriadis says, adding the caveat that Nude ArtWalk isn’t “a direct affront to the landlord of Nicole Touchet’s gallery but an affirmation of this city’s support of free artistic expression.”

Artist Nicole Touchet with one of several nude paintings she was ordered to cover

As this newspaper was first to report on Friday — alas, it wasn’t an April Fool’s gag — soon after her solo exhibition opened for the March ArtWalk in her eponymous gallery, a leased space in Gordon Square in the heart of Downtown, Touchet received an email from a representative for Property One, Inc., the company that manages the office building. Citing a clause in her lease (that makes no reference to nudity, public morals or the like), the company ordered Touchet to cover nude portraits hanging in the gallery.

One of the owners of the building, Lafayette businessman Jeremiah Supple, tells The IND he was unaware of the issue until notified by his daughter, who he says is a friend of Touchet’s.

“Personally I think the art is very good, and I’m sorry to see her go,” Supple says. “I wish she’d stay; I believe she adds character to Gordon Square, and I suspect Property One feels the same. But she will do well wherever she decides to go.”


Supple adds that he’s hands-off when it comes to management of the property and is unaware — and hasn’t inquired — who lodged the complaint(s) that led to Property One’s silly demand.

“They are just trying to do their job, and keep tenants happy, which they do very well,” Supple says. “This appears to be political correctness searching for a cause.”

Read our original story here.

Galleries that have committed to participating in Nude ArtWalk this Saturday Downtown, so far, are Theatre 810, Galery 549, The Garage, Gallery 333, Cajun Spice Gallery, Kelli Kaufman Studio & Gallery, The Vertical Barre and Carpe Diem Espresso & Gelato. Dimitriadis says she expects more galleries to sign on by Saturday.

The event has a Facebook page that can be viewed by clicking here.