The Internet was abuzz this week when controversial artist Daniel Edwards released his latest piece of art: a nude statue of [artist id="3187077"]Justin Bieber[/artist] and [artist id="3079282"]Selena Gomez[/artist] with the words "Justin & Selena Forever" inscribed at the base of the statue.
The bronze statue, called "Justin and Selena as One," plays on the idea of Adam and Eve, with Bieber wearing a strategically placed maple leaf and Gomez wearing a strategically placed Texas Lone Star — references to Justin's native Canada and Selena's home state. But Edwards told MTV News the images aren't meant to be provocative for the sake of being provocative.
"Really, can you think of any teenage couple that's bigger or been bigger than them? Also, for my point of view, when I look at it, there's a lot of interesting components to it," he said of the piece, which will be on display at Dallas' New Fine Arts. "That was pretty much the obvious point of entry. She is 19, so that takes away a little bit of the edge, I think, but the fact that he's 17, that was totally the point of it.
"I tried to find my entry into making a comment on that very thing that happens time and again to teenage celebrities, where they're kind of exploited early, earlier than what is legal, and the media fuels that as best they can," he continued. "I guess I'm making my commentary about that particular thing that happens."
The statue also comments on the "double standard" for males and females in the industry. "It only seems to hit the young ladies a lot worse than the men. It's still there. You see all those beach photos of the two of them. My children are young, but I think I would be freaked out if I saw images of them like that on the Internet," he said, noting that being a father definitely informs his work.
"If I hadn't had kids, I think the work would be a lot more provocative, visually," he said. "But with kids, I always have to make sure it's something I'm comfortable with them seeing. There's a certain line I'm not willing to cross with my kids in the house."
Of all the ways to portray the two teen superstars, Edwards felt that the biblical reference was the perfect way to make his commentary work. "It's not for the sake of presenting religion. ... I think it's mostly because, from an art-history standpoint, a young couple is always Adam and Eve," he said. "And so I always try to position my work in historical reference. ... It's a way of giving it a bit of a historical context."
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