Note: To protect the privacy of our members, e-mail addresses have been removed from the archived messages. As a result, some links may be broken.

Find Lesson Plans on! GettyGames

Re: [teacherartexchange] the nude in art


From: Woody Duncan (woodyduncan_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Dec 08 2007 - 09:20:28 PST

Hi Jane,
        I was nude yesterday morning while three young women we poking at my
body and taking lots of photos. If I had not had a tube up my rear
end at the time
I might have enjoyed it. Sorry for the gross humor about my medical
procedure -
but the American public can be quite strange in it's attitudes about
the human body.
But my medical exam is way off the issue.

On Dec 8, 2007, at 2:23 AM, wrote:

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

I never had much of an issue with nudity in art as a middle school
art teacher.
As it was, I taught in the inner city where parents were too busy
working two
jobs to bother the teachers much. The suburbs, I hear were different.
I can't
remember ever having a complaint about a reproduction of David in my
Nor did the students say much about the books in my classroom library
nudes by renoir and others. I do remember when one girl was copying a
Renoir - that she told another student it was OK because it was art.

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

I believe that drawing from the nude form is very important in an
training. I do not believe the practice is proper in schools until
I would recommend that serious art students in high school - if they
wish - take outside classes at an art school or college including nude
drawing. (Of course with a parents approval)

> eliminate books that include nude images or museum trips that might
> expose students to nudity?

Not unless the images were erotic or vulgar would I remove a book
from my
middle school art room. I have sent books over to the High School
that I thought
were more appropriate there.

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

We are ask to inform parents when nudity might be an issue, but it
was never a problem in my 27 years of teaching. I've been retired
several years now.

Once there was an issue when another middle school visited the Nelson
a week before us. A special ed student had reacted to a nude statue.
I was told
he might have been molested in the past. The Nelson ask me if any of my
students had been molested so they might avoid the problem when our
tour date came up. I laughed - one, how was I to know and if I did know
I'd tell the proper people and not the docents at the Nelson.

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

I can't remember it being an issue but we did nor create nude figures
in middle
school. Well one time a student wanted a passenger in a raft to be
shown peeing
out of the boat. I told him to be sure the guy was only shown from
the rear.

Since I'm now a docent in Albuquerque the issue comes up. I'm on a
team that gives
tours for elementary students. Many of the docents raise concerns
when any nudity
is in an exhibit. I say if they are uncomfortable then steer their
group around it. I don't
think it is a problem for the children - just the older docents.

We have a great exhibit on Egypt now. Some small statues from the
tombs still have
a penis intact. One fifth grade boy, last Tuesday, told me that the
statue had "male Parts".
I thanked him for being very tactful in his description. Now - my
grandkids would have
used the correct anatomical terms without hesitation.

As a docent, I love to tell stories but I avoided the one about Osiris:
Osiris was killed by his brother Set, torn to pieces, with the penis
disposed of in the Nile.
Osiris's wife, Isis, with the assistance of Thoth, was able to return
Osiris to life, but was unable
to recover the penis, so she replaced it with an artificial penis
made of gold. Through it, she
conceived Horus. (from Wikipedia)

I'm told - in our docent training - that a fish swallowed the penis
and that began the practice
of not eating fish in Egypt.
                        Best of luck on your art history unit, Woody

> Thanks, Jane in Brooklyn

> Read My Blog:

Watercolors on Note Cards

35 Quality Middle School Art Lessons

January 19, 2009 Be Patience America
Join the Campaign Now
John Edwards for President

To unsubscribe go to