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Pregnant With Meaning

Damien Hirst’s sculpture the virgin mother just went up outside Lever House Restaurant. Are people enthralled or appalled? A mini-survey.

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Rick Cerezo
operations manager for an investment company, 37
I like it. New York is too conservative with its art. In Italy, there are nudes everywhere. I’m not saying [Hirst] is Michelangelo, but in Mike’s time, he probably got the same reactions. I work in this building, and we’ve gotten calls from clients who want to know who’s responsible for this.

Reneé Riccardo
curator, 46
It’s about life and death, repulsion and beauty. See the pose? She’s like the Degas ballerinas. Hirst is making a connection to science. In his show at Gagosian, he had the male anatomy, and now this. He’s a father, too, so this piece is especially personal.

Ansel Shields, 27, and Denise Booth, 25,
athletic trainers
Ansel: It freaks me out, the gore of it. We see this stuff in movies, but not around the corner from my job.
Denise: To me, it’s a reference to abortion rights.
Ansel: It’s not appropriate. There are pregnant women in this neighborhood. And this is a restaurant. You hungry now?

Stephanie Kaplan
schoolteacher, 40
It’s beautiful in a bizarre way. Since I just had a son seven months ago, it really makes me think that I was happier when he was still inside me. Also, her breasts are awfully perky for a pregnant woman, don’t you think?

Liisa Vaska
executive assistant, 38
I work on the fifth floor of this building, so I look at the top of its head all day. There’s a little crack on the top. I’m having more fun watching the reactions of people than watching the statue itself. But I’m not freaked out by it. I mean, I’m freaked out by pregnancy anyway.


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