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RE: nudity


From: Judi Morgan (judi.morgan_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Mon Feb 07 2005 - 11:08:10 PST

I also presented Matisse's dancers to elementary students. Before I
showed the image, I explained that Matisse was trying to convey the
gracefulness of dance. I drew "organic" stick figures on the board and
asked if they could see the gracefulness of the dance movement (of
course, they could). Then I drew clothes on the figures and they could
see how it hid so much of the movement. I then explained that Matisse
chose to dress the figures in a way that the movement was not hidden--he
dressed them in orange. There was no problem from students or parents.


On the other hand, when I had sixth graders choose a Matisse painting to
emulate, a couple of the boys chose nudes. It was obvious that their
choice wasn't art based. I let their parents know what they had chosen
and explained that whether it was okay with them or not, I was telling
the boys that they had to choose something else.


I agree that nudity is a delicate subject and needs to be presented
carefully and respectfully...and hopefully the community will response
in the same way.


I often refer back to the movie, Titanic. Which scene was a healthier
example for teenagers to see...the one where she is posing for the
drawing? Or the one in the back seat of the car? Hmmm...point of view,


Judi Morgan

Saint George's School

2929 W. Waikiki Road

Spokane, WA 99208



-----Original Message-----
From: Sharon Henneborn []
Sent: Monday, February 07, 2005 10:41 AM
To: ArtsEdNet Talk
Subject: Re: nudity


I taught in public schools for over 40 years in many different

communities. The nudity fear monster is not an easy thing to come to

terms with. You need to approach it in a way that is respectful to the

community no matter how rigid their beliefs seem. The fear is deep



I grew up in the bible belt. My parents both went to seminary. Dad is a

minister. I remember I over heard my mom trying to guide a group of

mothers who had daughters they were isolating & constantly monitoring

them to guard them fearful that the daughters would have unhealthy

experiences. She told them if a concept like the human body is open

to discussion and they see healthy accepting adult responses to it they

will develop healthy responses under the adult supervision.


She said when you fear a thing so that you make it a hidden secret and

attach the coat of the devil to it the child will attach fear and

curiosity and become overwhelmed with the fear & curiosity. They will

either explore without adult guidance or grow up unable to have a

healthy adult response to the human body.


There are some very useful posts on the subject on this list. Every

community is different. A couple of years ago a young teacher on this

list had a conflict with administration and a few parents over a

picture in a book she got from the school library. Eventually she left

her job. We lost touch with her soon after when her email changed.

You have to pick your battles. It may be that you have an isolated

parent or two but that can set the administration on edge. I was

always fortunate to have administrators who stood between me and any



You know we will share our experiences with you and you can pick what

is useful for you and your community but it appears you are on your own

without back up from a fearful administrator.


Once I presented Matisse dancers blue paper cuts. How safe is that! A

little 2nd grader asked if those dancers were naked. I asked, "What do

you think?" The kids decided they were nude and some started to giggle.

I asked what they thought made some people uncomfortable with a figure

without clothes on and some people were comfortable with it. One wise

little girl said. "I think they mix up the art with the sex thing."


  After all it is just a cut up piece of blue paper! It is all in the



Sharon ~ NJ