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[teacherartexchange] the nude in art


Date: Sat Dec 08 2007 - 01:23:56 PST

I am working on a unit for a modern art course that includes nudity
in art. It is for the college level, but I wonder if it has
applicability in elementary and secondary education.

You can respond off line to me, or share your ideas with the list

Have you changed your mind about including the nude in art since you
began teaching?

Are there any differences in your teaching about the nude that have
evolved over time?

Two years ago a teacher (Sydney McGee) was fired, with a feature of
the dismissal based on exposing an elementary school student to a
work of art during a school-sanctioned field trip. According to
news reports the student told her parent about seeing a nude or
nudes in the museum.

(There was a later report of personnel issues that contributed to
the firing, but the nude sculpture seen by the students during the
tour of the museum remained as the problem that set the firing in

Have the McGee or other publicized issues around teachers and
disciplinary actions around nudity caused you to choose to
eliminate books that include nude images or museum trips that might
expose students to nudity?

Does your school have a permission system that addresses what
students might see in museums?

Do your administrators put limits on nudity in seeing or making art?

Attitudes among art historians have been changed over time,
especially in post modern times and in study of visual culture,
especially by insights resulting from increased appreciation of a
feminist perspective about the nude in art.

Have your own ideas about the nude in art changed over time?Do you
personally regard the nude differently than when you started to
study art and art history?

John Berger and others point out that the female nude, even in art,
is not just an image representing an aspect of human beauty.
Questions about appropriate female nudity in art and the nude
submitted to "the male gaze" are widely discussed today.

Any ideas to share? I can report relevant comments anonymously if
you wish.

Thanks, Jane in Brooklyn

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