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Nude artwork to stay at LA airport

Susan Narduli's work was commissioned by American Airlines  

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- The Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Commission has approved --- for a second time -- a controversial art exhibit at the Los Angeles International Airport depicting naked men.

The decision was greeted by loud applause from the exhibit's artist Susan Narduli and about two dozen others who attended the meeting.

Narduli's work, featuring outdoor scenes of male nudes running and leaping in "the spirit of flight," is etched in granite into the floor of the American Airlines terminal.

One piece depicts four nude men reaching and leaping; the second shows three nude men standing upright, with arms outstretched.

Although the subjects' genitalia are shadowed over, the buttocks of two figures are not.

The commission had initially approved sketches of the project in 1999.

The project was commissioned to celebrate the reopening of the American Airlines terminal last month -- and drew astonishment from airport employees during the unveiling.

The airline then covered the entire exhibit in brown wrapping paper, pending the Commission's decision, but later took it off.

Much ado about nothing?

Narduli says the untitled work was inspired by man's "spirit of flight," calling it "that awesome thing that we do." She told CNN, she feels "great, because it's over and we won."

LAX spokeswoman Nancy Castle told CNN that the airport would "respect the decision of the commission," and take no further action.

She said airport officials asked the commission to "revisit" the project because they "thought it looked different than what was submitted."

She also accused the news media of blowing the issue out of proportion.

American Airlines regional managing director George Hazy on Wednesday called the controversy much ado about nothing, saying he hasn't heard of any objections to the artwork. He also said few people would notice it anyway, because "they're interested in catching a plane."

• Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Commission
• Los Angeles International Airport
• American Airlines

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