Art or obscenity? Tellico Plains community at odds over topiary


TELLICO PLAINS (WATE) – A topiary that some residents say is obscene has them at odds with town leaders who say they can’t do anything about it.

The ornamental shrub on Cherohala Skyway shows a nude woman, bending over in what some say is a suggestive position. Resident Marie Morris says she was told by the mayor’s office that since the topiary is on private property, there is nothing they can do about it.

“I have grandkids and a great grandkid and I try to protect them from this type of pornography,” she said.

Artist Joe Kyte says it took him a week to make it, creating the piece as an expression after someone threatened to shoot his dogs.

“I didn’t really appreciate that so I expressed my views,” he said.

Kyte said most people think the sculpture is funny, many even stopping to take photos with it and other sculptures in his front yard.

“No one has said anything so far. Actually there is a fan club for her,” he said.

Morris says that is a double standard.

“If there was a man showing the family jewels and all his glory on the sidewalk, it would’ve already been taken down. I’m afraid they have deaf ears to certain things in the community and it needs to be addressed,” she said.

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