Sunday, October 3, 1999 Published at 13:57 GMT 14:57 UK
Shock art show opens
New Yorkers see Chris Ofili's Virgin Mary for themselves
An art exhibition which has provoked a legal battle between the mayor of New York and one of its best-known museums opened on Saturday.
The exhibition, at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, features several works that are deliberately designed to shock.
They include a painting of the Virgin Mary by Chris Ofili decorated with elephant dung, and a bisected dead pig floating in a liquid solution.
Marcus Harvey's portrait of British child murderer Myra Hindley, created using children's handprints, has also attracted criticism.
Visitors to the exhibition described it as "provocative" and "a little bit shocking" - one viewer said some of the pieces made her feel "slightly queasy".
He said: "I believe that the use of public funds to have a portrait of a paedophile glorified is disgusting."
The museum has responded by suing the mayor and accusing him of failing to respect free speech.
Demonstrations for both sides of the argument have been held outside the museum, which appears determined to press on with the exhibition.
Protester Robert Lederman, wearing a T-shirt reading "Giuliani police state", was arrested after he refused a police request to move.
A group of artists, writers and entertainers placed a full-page advert in Friday's New York Times supporting Sensation.
The advert, whose signatories included Arthur Miller, Norman Mailer, and Kurt Vonnegut, said: "Government should not be allowed to make its support of the arts subject to the personal aesthetic or religious views of public officials."