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[teacherartexchange] Nudity in art

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From: Jean Womack (jeaneger_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed Dec 19 2007 - 14:46:55 PST


The Rennaissance was supposed to be a big advance in humanism which included
the right to see pictures of people nude. It has something to do about
learning about the human body. I guess it improved the medical ability of
doctors to be able to dissect a human cadaver and to look at people nude.

The only reason looking at a nude person would arouse a sexual response is
because the person has been trained to have that response by only seeing a
nude person in sexual situations. I think that seeing nude painting
reproductions in art history books in an art class is not a sexual
situation.

I don't advocate running around the house nude, espcially not in front of
children, although once in awhile I read in the media about people who do,
called nudists. Some people call them exhibitionists. I guess they are
nudists in a nudist camp and exhibitionists anywhere else. My ex husband
was a nudist and he got me to take my clothing off in public when I was in
my early twenties, but then we got a divorce and I never did that again.
I'm 65 now. It just wasn't me. It wasn't my thing. I didn't have any
children at that time of my life. It didn't hurt me to do that, but I guess
it gave some people a wrong impression of me. If I still looked that good
now, I might go to the beach in a tiny bikini, but those days are long gone
for me.

We got a divorce, I put my clothing back on and resumed a normal modest
life. I tell the kids, turn the video off when they start taking their
clothing off. They are kids, that's the big difference. When they grow up,
if they want to take their clothing off, they can do it with the person they
are in love with, if that's what they want to do. I think that nudist camps
are a very unique situation that very few people get to see or even WANT to
see. Anyway, children are not allowed to watch people making love. I think
that's considered child abuse, but I am not sure of that. The reason they
are not allowed to let their children watch them is becaue children are
imitative and we don't want them to do that. Imitative all on their own
without any encouragement from grownups, who, nevertheless, are responsible
for them.

There are some old people still around who are afraid to utter the words
penis or vagina. They get confused when asked to describe the rest of the
private parts. How can you tell someone what happened to you if you do not
have words to describe what you saw? Kids learn about family life in the
San Francisco Bay area in the primary grades.

I think the human body is beautiful. I think a person is a whole person,
not just one body part. Not just the mind. Not just the private parts.
Don't disassociate some body part from the rest of the human being.

I like my teacher. I think he is gorgeous. He is very sexy because he is a
man and knows a lot about the topic I want to learn about this year, which
is journalism. To me, that knowledge is powerful, so he represents power to
me. I might never use that power, but I want to know about it, to
understand it. He is patient. He speaks in a soft voice. He never loses
his temper but you can see by his facial expression when he is angry or
disappointed or worried. I study him and I see that he uses his physical
presence to get people to keep coming to class and to take an interest in
journalism, because they want to be near him, yet he is forbidden to them at
the same time. I know that because I am a teacher too, and I don't break
those rules.

One of my master teachers also used her physical presence to keep her
students coming to class. She didn't wear tight clothing or anything. It's
just that you could see that she was happy with who she was. She would say
sweetie or honey to a boy student. She almost flirted with them. The boys
adored her. They were learning what its like to be around a grown woman who
wasn't their mother, whom they could have a non-sexual relationship with,
but there was always the attraction there. Like magnets.

Some human beings are more magnetic than others. For example, people who
shake their head no when they are speaking to you, are turning you off.
Her AP art students who were all girls adored her. When I tried to engage
her in conversation she made it clear to me that she wanted to spend her
time conversing with her teenage students and that I should do the same. I
should be interested in those teeagers and listen to what they want to tell
me. It was like talking to a blank wall. She had some nude statues on the
ledge up near the wall molding, along with a lot of other stuff that people
had made in the past and put up there. She didn't lecture much, she just
had a lot of art projects and they spent 90 percent of their time making
art.

This probably isn't what you were trying to extract from us, so I hope
someone else answers.

Jean Womack

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