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Jesus loincloth spares blushes at New York airport

An artist has been forced to paint a loincloth onto a nude figure of Jesus on the cross in a mural at Kennedy International Airport, in New York, after complaints from construction workers.

The naked figure prompted one worker to contact the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights to complain.

David Sigman, development general manager for terminal builder and operator JFK, said that Deborah Masters, the mural's artist, was happy to change the mural.

Ms Masters said she had not intended to paint Jesus nude.

"We didn't bring it before the mayor's panel," said Mr Sigman, referring to Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's recently-established committee charged with setting a "decency standard" for art in New York museums funded with public money.

Rudolph Giuliani created the decency commission in the wake of his disgust at recent exhibitions. A photograph depicting a black female Christ at the last supper was described by the mayor as outrageous and disgusting.

Ms Masters created 28 sculpted reliefs for the airport's new international arrivals building.

She said the Christ image "was intended to have a loincloth".

She said: "(The painting) wasn't finished. This is a quarter-inch thing, and I just forgot."

The reliefs depict city street scenes and the mural is to be unveiled when the new terminal opens on 24 May.