Art Museum Shows Katie Couric Reading News With 'Genitalia Exposed' (Not Hers)

August 21st, 2009 12:28 PM

On the New York Times City Room blog, freelance writer Fred Bernstein reported how an exhibit called "And/Or" at the New York art gallery P.S. 1 proved to be too sexually mature for his children. It may soon draw an angry letter from CBS:

Two minutes later, I saw something alarming over my right shoulder: a giant photo of Katie Couric delivering the evening news with her genitalia exposed. (I later read that the artist, Jonathan Horowitz, had Photoshopped Britney Spears's naked lower body onto Ms. Couric’s upper.) The boys didn’t see the piece, and I didn’t want them to, so without saying a word, I put my hands against their backs and hustled them into the next room.

"Why are you pushing us?" Jake asked.

"There was something there that wasn’t appropriate for children," I said, afraid that would only make him want to go back.

It’s O.K. if P.S. 1 wants to show vulvas in extreme close-up. (I don’t believe in censorship.) What’s not O.K. is that the only warning to parents was a tiny sign at the entrance to the gallery. The wording was clear — "These galleries contain graphic imagery. Parent/adult discretion is advised" — but the size and style of the sign made it unlikely that any harried parent would even notice it.

The usual writers on the museum beat at the New York Times must not have found the bottomless-Katie image worth mentioning. In a roundup, they only described the Horowitz exhibit as a "smart, crisply edited retrospective. The works evoke the media-saturated art of the 1970s, the neo-Conceptualist consumer art of the 1980s and the identity art of the 1990s, landing in a Never-Neverland era, in which analog is poised to turn to digital, and Doris Day and Paris Hilton have equal currency."

Update: Rich Noyes recalled that in 2007, New York radio station WPLJ mocked Couric's low ratings with a parody song suggesting she do the news naked, including the lyrics:  "Hey, CBS / This whole thing is a total mess. Hey CBS / Ask Katie to go panty-less."