On April 12, 1934, the leading article of the Deseret News announced that Utahns were readying themselves for war. “Moralists and anti-moralists” were preparing for “the battle which will rage at the Art Barn, Wednesday afternoon at 2 o'clock over the question as to ‘whether art may by nude and yet be art in Utah.’” Alta Rawlins Jensen, founder and president of Salt Lake City's first permanent arts center, which was affectionally nicknamed “the Art Barn” (fig. 1), had succinctly summed up what was at stake in this culture war:

I think that we should settle that question for all time. . . . It is time to find out if Utah is a bit of backwash, remote from the main current of progress, or if culture here has grown to maturity, where truth and beauty can be seen in the nude as well as in other art....

You do not currently have access to this content.