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Lesson Plans

nudity and school tours

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Heather Crocker (hcrocker)
Wed, 24 Feb 1999 11:07:51 -0700

I like the idea of a group giggle although I have never had a student
giggle to the point of distracting the others. I will keep it in mind
if it ever happens. I did have several students (3rd grade) ask me why
we had pornography on the walls (this was a black and white photography
exhibition and the particular photo was by Edward Weston of a model
laying in the sand (White Sands National Monument), circa 1920). I
explained that the photographer did not intend for this photo to be used
in the way that pornography is used and that this particular image was a
study in contrast, shape, and light. The way the model posed was
seductive and some what sexually charged, so I understood why it
attracted attention. Interestingly, the photo of Imogen Cunningham and
a nude Tinka leaning against a tree did not attract the same questions.
Has anyone else in a museum setting had to answer the question of "why
are you displaying pornography?" I also had one school group (from a
small Mormon community) cancel their tour after I told the teacher there
were some nudes in the exhibition. I felt badly because the students
were missing out on a wonderful opportunity to learn about some of the
best early photographers in the country from a world class private
collection (the owner of the collection was even going to attend the
school tour to answer questions.) I would like to know how other
museums handle these situations.