Giant Boob Sculpture Invites Moms to Breastfeed on South Beach

I saw a man cry over a pair of breasts once, and I don't blame him.

Nestled between wire and lace contraptions sit the ultimate symbol of life: boobs. Ta-tas. Sweater puppies. Both functional and frivolous, boobs have been making men do strange things for hundreds of thousands of years.

Miami artist London Tsai's appreciation for the bosom found a way to translate itself into a 5 foot tall, aluminum breast.

His sculpture will be displayed for the first time ever at the Quantum Shift Art Exhibition at Art Center/South Florida this Friday. And he's inviting breastfeeding mothers to stop by and nurse their babies in front of it -- just in time for Mother's Day.

Tsai's inspiration for the busty endeavor came shortly after the birth of his second child. His family is part of a network of alternative health practitioners, birth workers, and breastfeeding mothers. His wife, Michelle Moyer Tsai, was breastfeeding their son among a community of women who began to discuss how the breast is fundamentally connected to life.

"Besides convenience and the incredible nutritional components of a mother's milk, nursing is helpful in reducing postpartum depression symptoms, postpartum weight loss, and, perhaps most importantly, is wonderful for bonding," Moyer said.

Moyer views the practice as the most natural way to feed, insisting the idea of giving a baby formula to be the only strange alternative.

The artist encourages breastfeeding mothers to attend the event and nurse their babies around a piece that celebrates their motherhood.

The exhibit is a culmination of four years' work that will be unveiled for the first time this weekend. In 2008, after an artist residency in Berlin, Tsai transitioned from painting and drawing to metal sculpture. The process was no simple task, welding first the nipple and then building outwards.

Tsai said, "I had this mass of aluminum flopping around everywhere and I wasn't sure how the curves I was putting on the panels would all fit together... It sort of ended up building itself and getting the beautifully imperfect shape of a real breast."

He says the exhibit is an opportunity to raise awareness for the power women possess, and how important it is for them to feel comfortable breastfeeding anywhere and everywhere, especially in this state. In 1993, Florida set a national example by enacting a comprehensive breastfeeding legislation that recognized the act as an interest to child health and family values.

Tsai believes it is a right we must exercise or risk losing. The event is a call to action for all, uh, breast enthusiasts.

The two-person show, also featuring drawings by Judith Berk King, will host over a dozen welded aluminum and wood sculptures and one interactive installation piece, as well as a short film depicting the process by which the enormous mammary came to be.

So if you have a pair of magic mountains or just really appreciate them, find a way to be present and give thanks.

The Quantum Shift exhibit takes place at Art Center/South Florida, 800 Lincoln Road Miami Beach, FL 33139, and will kick off Friday, May 11, at 6 p.m. The official opening is Saturday, May 12, from 7 to 10 p.m. and the exhibit will run until June 17, 2012.

--Briana Saati

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Miami New Times staff