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Re: [teacherartexchange] nudity in art teaching US vs Europe


From: Patricia Knott (pknott_6_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Jul 14 2007 - 13:25:07 PDT

On Jul 11, 2007, at 11:53 AM, Jane wrote:

> I can't help noticing the difference in how kids react to nudity
> over there. No big deal. Kids go to the Accademia and draw the
> David complete with genitals. No big deal. Second graders.
> adolescents.
> So I wonder. What is it that makes it so different here in the U.S.
> trying to teach art with history examples and contemporary examples
> that include nudity - even abstract nudity like Matisse's circle of
> dancers has been cited as a problem.
> There is a huge disconnect between what we preach: higher order
> thinking skills, art that attends to visual culture, connecting
> important historical art practices with student practices etc.,
> except: No nudes is good nudes.

We are very "queer" in this country about the body. We relish in
titillation and forget reverence. And I see little way to get
beyond the cultural inhibitions to then just deal with the form
instead of the implications. Our heritage has produced a
redundancy of values. On one hand, we have strong values to make
certain images forbidden and on the other hand we put enticing images
all over the place to cause people to make economic choices.

So where does that fit into the role of the art teacher? To be
honest, I often wonder why the nude has been such a favorite for
subject matter? I can't quite answer it, other than voyeurism.

and now, in contemporary art, it's not the nude but sexual practices
that are even more hard to deal with

We have to deal with the "what" goes on here. We waiver between
unspecified values and waddle in very conservative attitudes. We are
victims of entrenched thinking that takes more than art teacher
courage to overcome.

All I can say, is that it is such a pity that what we revere is not
what falls into the comfort zone of historical art concepts, and few
teachers are wiling to take a step out on the limb.

The problem is that we really don't get beyond the "sex." When
almost everything that is peddled to the public has to do with sex we
still think nobody looks at the body as a work of art. We have too
much fundamentalist thinking to overcome before we can present the

How theheck does any body teach the Greeks without the nude?

Good question Jane
why are we so afraid?


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