Here is a brief rundown of my final lesson plan for Dr. Krug's Art Ed 605
Class: Censorship: Obscenity or Freedom of Expression?
I am going to focus on the role of the nude throughout art history
(Renaissance to present) and look at how and why its use has become taboo
and an issue for censorship. The primary issues that I want to address are:
1) When should art be censored?
2) Who should censor it?
3) What are the criteria for censorship?
4) What is pornography? How does it differ from nude art?
5) Has photography changed the role of the nude?
I plan to address these issues through discussion of slides of work from the
Renaissance to impressionism, which deal with the nude. Then, I will have
the students compare them to the works of Robert Mapplethorpe through a
group discussion of the differences/likenesses between them. We will
discuss how his works have been censored, the rulings of the Supreme Court
and the ideas behind pornography and art. The students will not be exposed
to the more provocative pieces of his work, but they will be informed of
them and given the option to investigate them on their own, but not on
school time or property. The students will then be asked to use the library
or the internet to find a nude artwork from the periods we will discuss.
They will make a color copy (if possible) and then compare it, in writing,
with a Mapplethorpe. We will then use the color copies for the studio project.
Studio: Censor the artwork by designing clothes for the nude in the artwork
and adhering them to the work. We will then discuss the effects of the
censorship and what it does to change the meaning of the piece.
I realize that these are advanced questions and issues in art, that is why I
am gearing this lesson toward high school students. I am trying to take
into consideration many different facets which include student, parent,
administration and school board reactions. With these in mind, I am
constructing this lesson to be as tasteful as I possibly can. I believe
this to be a very important subject which needs to be dealt with. I can see
from all of the postings about the debate between the nude and Christianity
on the list-server that many of you would agree with me. If this subject is
kept in the dark, then the misunderstanding of the purpose of this type of
art will always be present. Only through teaching it can we begin to break
down the barriers built on ignorance and misconception. We are not going to
change the civilized world's views on nudity, but we may be able to soften
some of the concrete opposition through enlightenment.
Maybe it's a pipe-dream.
Questions or comments are welcomed.
Anthony N. Kopp
It appears that we are marooned in the proverbial tributary lacking
sufficient means of motivation.