I think it's mostly because we americans have come from puritans and frankly not that long ago. This country is only 200 or so years old. Really not a lot in the grand scheme of things. Europe has several hundred years of time ahead of us and a vast amount of art work that's been in the public eye for that time. If it's in front of you every day and has been for several hundreds of years it's no big deal. We have no experince with that in this country and certainly no nudes that existed prior to the beginnings of us being in this land. This country is still evolving and we'll get there eventually. You would think an educated public would become more lenient but it appears that's not the case. Many are still ingrained with that puritan attitude. Look how far europe is ahead of us in birth control. When my mother came here in 1960 she could not get the birth control she used to get when she lived in the Netherlands. She had already had two children at home (deliverys were not in the hospital) with no medicati
on and they wanted to sedate her(not just pain killers but sedation)for the third one here in this country. When she refused the Doctor was so upset but after the birth he was quoted as saying in the delivery room. "See that's how it should be done, natural."
My father had witnessed both my sister and I being born but was prevented from being with my mother here in the US. We really are just behind the times.
>From: Patricia Knott <email@example.com>
>Date: 2007/07/14 Sat PM 03:25:07 CDT
>To: TeacherArtExchange Discussion Group <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Subject: Re: [teacherartexchange] nudity in art teaching US vs Europe
>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.
>> 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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