Ottmar Hoerl's golden garden gnome, with its Heil Hitler salute, caused a stir in Nuremberg, Germany, where Nazi symbols are illegal. Hoerl said the artwork -- called "Poisoned" -- is a critique of far-right ideologies, and following an investigation, German prosecutors declined to charge the artist with a crime.
The bronze statue "Journey to the New," displayed at a shopping mall in West Palm Beach, Fla., represents the migration of Russian and Ethiopian Jews from their native lands to Israel. But Morikami Park Elementary School is next door, and the head of the local PTA wants artist Itzik Asher's work to find a new home.
Asher told the Sun-Sentinel that the statue's critics are "narrow-minded people that behave like children" at the sight of nudity.
Greenville, Mich., is under the gun after receiving a letter demanding that it remove its copy of a statue of the Little Mermaid, a character from the Danish folk tale by Hans Christian Andersen. The town has featured a statue of the mermaid for 15 years, but the artist who produced the original in Copenhagen is asserting his copyright on the artwork, according to the Wall Street Journal.
"The Temptation of Alice," one of 27 paintings in a controversial art exhibit in Eureka Springs, Ark., portrays Lewis Carroll's iconic Alice in Wonderland alongside the "Drag-Queen of Hearts." The art show has raised more than a few eyebrows since its debut in September in the small Arkansas town.
The exhibit in Eureka Springs also featured "The Divine Mother," a depiction of a bare-breasted Virgin Mary nursing the baby Jesus. Above the Madonna are the words: "Does this halo make me look fat?"
Lance Armstrong pedaled the final stage of the Tour de France atop a bike on which British artist Damien Hirst had affixed colorful and reflective butterfly wings. Enter PETA -- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals -- which declared, "Butterflies are beautiful creatures who should be enjoyed in the wild, not encased in a bike."
Lance's bike wasn't Hirst's first work with butterfly wings. This piece went on auction in Hong Kong in May. But not all of his work has made it into Asian auction houses and museums so easily -- his famous installation of a cow and a calf split in half and suspended in formaldehyde was detained at Japan's border last year because of a ban on British meat.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The butterfly wings in Damien Hirst's stained glass windows and colorful mosaics enchant his enthusiasts -- but the animal rights activists at PETA consider them nothing short of murder.
Avant-garde art -- including hundreds of Heiling garden gnomes, a kinky Alice in Wonderland and even some luminescent butterfly wings -- caused quite the culture clash in the U.S. and abroad.