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[teacherartexchange] regarding showing the nude in art


From: Kevan Nitzberg (knitzber_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Dec 09 2007 - 05:55:55 PST

Hi Jane,

Probably the only significant exposure students get to seeing the nude as
subject matter in my art classes is in the AP Art History Class. This is
primarly due to the fact that as the creation / analysis of works of art
within the high school population has a lot of strings attached to it. Here
are some of those 'stringy' issues:

Art classes in my school for the most part, are comprised of 9th - 12th
graders. That creates an issue with the level of maturity of the students
in the classroom (which is not to say that 12th graders are always more
mature than 9th graders, but that is the expectation).

The question of what meets the standard of appropriateness for high school
students is always a factor in what is taught in the classroom in addition
to the standard that we hold students to in terms of their behavior within
the building. There can easily be conflicting messages that can be sent to
students in regards to those levels. Issues of proper dress, for example,
particularly among teenage girls, has been a problem in the past. The
exposure of more body parts than is considered as meeting the level of
acceptability (low cut blouses, bare midriffs, exposed thong stlyed
underwear), when presented side by side with nude images in art, can be a
bit problematic to say the least.

As mentioned by others in response to this post, there is always the
prevailing attitude within the community that may or may not be in
opposition to such information being taught.

At least in the AP Art History class there is a context that is
pre-established and attached to the learning about the artwork based on the
cultural and historical framework that it is being presented in, as opposed
to simply portraying images that are perceived as simply vicarious, lewd and
voyeuristic for their own sake. Parents are also pre-apprised of the
curriculum and its content and always have the option to not have their
students view the work if it is found to be offensive.

Kevan in MN.

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