Artist ‘Humiliated’ After UN’s Cultural Agency Covered Up His Nude Sculptures With Underwear

The United Nations’ cultural agency is facing backlash after it covered up the genitalia of a series of nude sculptures with underwear, reports CNN.

The sculptures, created by French sculptor Stéphane Simon, were being displayed in Paris during the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) European Heritage Days event in September.

The selfie-taking, classical-style figures were part of a series called “In Memory of Me,” which was meant to be a commentary on the now-worldwide societal norm of taking selfies, according to CNN.

But UNESCO officials decided the genitalia needed to be covered up during the event.

Simon was offended by the move, telling CNN the addition of underwear “humiliated him” and was “disgusting.”

“I felt ashamed, so deeply sad to see all these years of work and research broken,” he told the outlet. “For two days visitors came to meet, to ask me: ‘But why did you do that?’ But it was not my choice.”

“I should have spent two days explaining the fascinating link” between the practice of selfie-taking and Ancient Greek history, Simon added.

He said he had raised the issue of nudity during planning meetings with UNESCO before the event but had not been asked to cover up the works until a few days before the event.

The UK’s Times newspaper quoted a UNESCO spokesperson saying: “We didn’t want to censor the artist, and understand that he felt hurt.”

Simon added to CNN that the organization has recognized a “mistake made by one employee.”