Old Wives' Tales
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Claim: A California artist is collecting brassieres to use in constructing a giant Bra Ball.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2001]
Origins: Ronnie Nicolino is a conceptual artist who, in the mid-1990s, attempted to acquire enough surplus brassieres to be able to string them together and produce a work called Bras Across the Grand Canyon, "a politically designed project, to convey how America is body and breast obsessed." Alas, donations petered out after Nicolino collected about 20,000 bras, not enough to make it all the way across the Grand Canyon. The artist then came up with a plan to use 40,000 bras in creating a symbolic "political request by women all across the country to get Clinton to do more breast cancer prevention research." Nicolino's symbol was to be the National Bra Tapestry, a 40-foot by 100-foot depiction of the Statue of Liberty made entirely of brassieres which, when completed, was supposed to have been taken on a 20-city tour the USA before arriving in Washington, D.C., to be presented to President Clinton. That project also failed to come to fruition (although in March 1994, Nicolino and 200 volunteers did succeed in creating a two-mile-long sand sculpture consisting of 21,000 size 34C breasts in Stinson Beach, California).
After Niccolino offered to donate his unused bras to an art project, and he was contacted by Emily Duffy, a "gender-issues artist" from El Cerrito, California. There began the dispute, as reported in the San Francisco Chronicle:
Duffy, who says her work has explored "female body image and gender issues for years," says she proposed a giant Bra Ball, something on the order of a rubber-band ball made of foundation garments. After several sessions, she says she gave Nicolino plans for the project, on which they would work together.Regardless of who came up with the idea for the giant Bra Ball,
Nicolino, on the other hand, is claiming the idea is his, and has issued a press release saying that he is beginning work immediately. He gives "credit, however, to Emily Duffy of El Cerrito, for helping develop the bra ball idea."
Duffy, who copyrighted her sketches and a model for the ball, says she is not in the habit of giving away her ideas and proclaims that she's "dismayed and angry." Nicolino, who says Duffy's approach was too "intellectual and complex," says he'll have a roadside exhibition ready by March.
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