Los Angeles – Granite floor etchings at LAX showing flying naked men have airport officials feeling a little exposed.
At the new American Airlines terminal at Los Angeles International, which opened a month ago, leaping nude male forms are sandblasted into a circular granite slab on the floor — artwork the airport fears will offend some of its patrons, or at least confuse them.
"I don't really know what they're doing," said one woman about to board an American flight to Dallas, after she examined the images. "It's a little ambiguous."
LAX unveiled the floor art, done by Susan Narduli, three weeks ago for only a few hours before covering the design up again with brown paper out of concern that some passengers would complain. Though they have since taken the wrapping off again, airport officials worry that the naked flyers might not be the most appropriate welcoming committee.
Artist Narduli is shocked that her work has caused that sort of response with the airport, especially since no one has made a formal complaint.
"I certainly had no idea that this was going to cause any controversy," she said. "Nobody talked to me from the airport."
The agency that oversees the airport declined to speak to Fox News too, but LAX officials have said that since it's a public place, they want to be careful not to offend anyone.
The display, which Narduli calls "The Wonders of the Heavens and Flying," is meant to depict early man's fascination with flight. The forms' genitalia aren't visible in the series of images — which were all drawn from the same male model. American Airlines is happy with the final product and the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Commission — the gatekeeper of art in public places — gave its final approval to the design.
"I told them what the concept was for the figures and why I thought they were so critical to the project," Narduli said. "They loved it. They said, 'This is great. Go for it.'"
Despite the airport's trepidation, the airline is sticking by its artist and her design.
"We wanted to have art created that would be pleasing to our customers, and we believe Susan has done well," said American Airlines spokesman Al Becker. "In our opinion, there is nothing objectionable about it in any way."
Fox News interviewed LAX patrons to see if they found the floor design offensive — or if they even noticed it at all. Many walked over the granite slab without even glancing at the nude men jumping across it.
"Everyone loves to complain about something," one woman said as she rushed to her gate. Another expressed surprise that anyone would find the art problematic.
But some passengers were a little taken aback by the depiction, especially in the middle of a busy international airport.
"I just don't think it's appropriate for a place like this," said a woman heading to Dallas with a small child in tow.
The airport, for its part, seems inclined to let the court of public opinion decide. But if complaints start pouring in from LAX travelers, these naked men on the floor could wind up in the departure lounge.