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


From: Sharon Henneborn (henneborn_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Jul 14 2007 - 22:02:28 PDT

        Subject: Re: nudity in art teaching US vs Europe
        Date: July 15, 2007 1:00:45 AM EDT

I tried to set up my approach to the subject as safely as possible.
Nothing is gained by shocking the students or community. If I got
fired there goes my influence & income. I made sure I opened the
subject when I had a student teacher in class with me in case I was
challenged. I never was.

I started with Matisse's paper cut figures. Never failed that
someone would ask or mention that these were naked. "Well, what do
you think? They are pieces of cut paper." On goes the discussion
until I ask, "I notice that some of you are very comfortable with
the discussion & the art work of the cut paper figures and some are
not comfortable. What do you suppose is the difference in the
reactions?" Most delightful response came from a 2nd grade girl.
"I think some people confuse the sex thing with the art thing."


A story of 4 1st grade boys - One was new. They were looking at a
book together & opened to a nude. It was Rodin's Balzac. I am
hoping that what we discuss with Matisse carries over to other work.
New kid started to giggle. Other boys called me over. "Can you help
him. He hasn't learned what to look for in this art work so he isn't
comfortable?" Then one of them said, "Geeze, this is one ugly man!"

I love kids!
Sharon ~ NJ

On Jul 14, 2007, at 4:25 PM, Patricia Knott wrote:
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 the heck does any body teach the Greeks without the nude?

Good question Jane
why are we so afraid?

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