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Submitted on
November 1, 2011


158,561 (9 today)
1,407 (who?)

Good Nudes vs. Bad Nudes?

Tue Nov 1, 2011, 2:57 PM by techgnotic:icontechgnotic:

Foreword by $techgnotic
Tue Nov 1, 2011, 3:23 PM

Contours in Context
The argument for the nude in art:

Our visual perception of the human face and then the human body has set the basis since the beginning of
human history for our sense of what is beautiful and what initiates all our seminal ineffable sublime feelings
about the nature of love, life, desire, destiny, eternity, ad infinitum.  The curvatures and symmetries of the
human body even lay the geometric basis for the artistic structures of all our art forms, not only for the visual
arts but also for literature and architecture. Given the primacy of the body as the beginning of all that we are
in life, and given the eye as the primary receiver for the collection of all information in our lives, how could
the artistic nude not be a massively represented art form on a global arts forum like deviantART?  And besides,
nudes are something people enjoy looking at – and art needs no other justification than being something that
brings some small amount of pleasure into our lives.

The knock on the nude in art:

You mean men enjoy looking at nudes.  And women not nearly so much – because they have to endure the daily indignities
of being treated like mindless “objects” by clueless men.  Nude art in any media will always teeter precariously on a very
fine edge separating the “empowering” from the “demeaning.”  It’s all in the context.  Helmut Newton famously photographed
a model on a bed wearing a saddle. Is this erotic fine
art or just high-gloss perversion?  Is it the artist’s intent to audaciously exercise his adoration of the nude form or to
merely indulge misogynistic darknesses? And you, viewing Newton’s photograph, will have to make your own decision as to
the worth of the piece, based in the unique context of everything you’ve experienced in your life.

The Eternal Question:
When is the Nude art...
and when is it not?

These questions seem to always arise when one encounters the nude – in photography, paintings, sculptures, even in song and
literature – an encounter fraught with more emotional, political and personal baggage than almost any other art experience.  
The artist’s intent is immediately at issue: Is this a sharing, a provocation, a statement?  Is this erotica to be enjoyed for
its sensual beauty and invocation of the mysteries of desire?  Or is this prurient junk fit only for baser purposes?  Or does
the nudity have very little to do with the ultimate message of the piece? The problem?

We don’t really know the artist’s
intent – And we’re left with our own
reaction to the artwork for judging
its artistic worth and merit.
That’s the problem.

.............................. by panpropanbutan
haunted by dysny
Up by JaimeIbarra
Cocoon by pauline-greefhorst

It’s so intimately subjective

One person’s erotic art is another person’s worthless sensationalism.  There can be no ultimate judge or definer –
and thankfully the majority of people in the world have recognized this fact of life and are against most censorships.
This leaves us with the vexing debate as to how much nudes is too much nudes on deviantART.

The only thought I can offer is that, because men (and women) photographing, painting and sculpting nudes is not going
away. We know better than to try to censor art or empower bureaucratic “judges” to set limits, it is imperative that we
keep the current conversation going about what is good and beautiful and what is bad and dangerous about our ubiquitous
nudes situation.  If only we can remain ever mindful and considerate of – and always remain in dialogue about – the good
and bad possible side effects of the nude art we enjoy, then maybe we can have our erotica and our feminism, too.

Kind of like enjoying alcohol, but knowing to never drive drunk.  Art is never entirely stand alone.  The context is
always present, transformative, and as important to the experience of art as the art object itself.

In February of 2012 I plan on revisiting this subject by interviewing artists and models on deviantART to get their
thoughts and opinions on the ideas and arguments that are represented in the comments section of this article.  After
answering the questions please let me know which artist or models you might like to see interviewed for that article.
I am also considering providing the commentary as a live interview/debate instead of an article.

Any thoughts on that idea?

Questions for the reader:

  1. Do you think there is too much nude subject matter on deviantART or is it a non-issue for you?  How much do you think your gender or sexual preferences might influence your answer?
  2. When is censorship of art permissible?   Where would you draw the line?  What rational rule could you offer as a practical guideline?
  3. Have you ever had a work of art you created censored or banned in any way?
  4. If an artist really believes in what he or she has created, how should the artist respond to censorship of that art?  Have you been made aware of an instance of “art suppression” via the Internet?
  5. Would you ever suggest to another artist that he or she should tone a work of art down or agree to the censorship of an art object in a specific situation?

:thumb194853072:The World In My Mind by vishstudioSorciere by St-JR
ToV: Requiem - Morning by Sinn4uhealing by Roguetwo

Article Update:
Tue Nov 1, 2011, 5:45 PM

Many of you have brought up the notion that any isolated display of genitals would not be artistic.
Would your opinion change if the discussion involved Judy Chicago's "The Dinner Party"
or Georgia O'Keeffe’s flower paintings?






Advisor in Chief



This article may be redistributed on the web by link and with attribution to deviantART but not re-printed without deviantART's permission.

Add a Comment:
luxordspokerbuddy Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
*of what artistic nude is
luxordspokerbuddy Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
As an artist who is branching into artistic nude and erotica, I feel like many people's perception of nude has been marred by the rise in 'sexting', the sheer amount of porn on the internet, and skewed religious beliefs. While I am not trying to put down religion as the cause, many people pick and choose what to follow out of the Bible and other religious texts. They don't take it all into consideration, just what is preached to them and has been considered taboo for generations.
People are becoming brainwashed into thinking what is right and wrong everyday. I know few people in my school that actually thinks about serious matters like art or even political issues such as gay marriage. They only ever give an automatic response that has been beaten into their brain by the constant lies and deception the government, and how poorly they understand their own religion.
And as someone pointed out before, there is a maturity filter on. If someone doesn't want to see it, they can simply turn it off. Most of the time you can see it's artistic nude by looking in the tag.
And as another point, true artistic nude requires a message, angle of the camera, lighting, and background. People who think showing off their genitalia blatantly is sorely mistaken about what art is and should be corrected. 
There may never be a perfect solution for the problem due to the unstable exponent of human nature. Humans will constantly fight and debate over what they think is right in an attempt to become dominant. As such, there is little we can do other than try to correct those who don't know what artistic nude is and try to educate the masses. Information is the key, even if the lock won't budge.
helenicomantico Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Creo que la imagen de Dios es el hombre. No lo digo como una creencia o una opinión sino como un acto de fe; la belleza de Dios se ha plasmado en el hombre y cada cuerpo lleva algo de su talante divino.

La cuestión no es qué tan malo sea presentar desnudos sino qué bien preparados están los que observan estos diseños pues si esto lo presentamos a niños podría ser peligroso. Sin embargo, a la página entran personas interesadas en la belleza, rostro de Dios, y no con afán de gozarse de las figuras como si fuese pornografía o un diseño mal encaminado. Un humanista.
asylumaxle Featured By Owner May 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
1: No, nudes are not an issue for me on DA. Yes, I am male, but I am also an artist with many a female fan. The bulk of my art is female nude. Occasionally I get a comment about why I draw almost nothing but naked chicks, but it doesn't bother me.

2: I once saw an artist on my watch list get hacked. The hacker posted things like a man blowing his own brains out, and a girl's arm that looked like she stuck it in a lawnmower, real gruesome stuff. The artist was banned shortly after, but returned once the hacking issue was settled. The hacker's "art" was offensive, at least to me, and it probably had no place on DA, but I wouldn't deny that it was art.

3: I have had ONE picture that I posted erased from DA by admins. It was of a male/female couple making love. There were no genitals or penetration of any kind visible in the picture, and all that could really be seen as far as nudity was his butt and one of her breasts. Pretty tame compared to most of my other pics., certainly not pornographic, just ... romance. DA has rules about not showing sex, and I can understand why. This was years ago, however, and I've seen some pics much racier than the one that got erased. Perhaps the rules have loosened a bit, but I wouldn't know.

4: There will always be censorship of art and media somewhere. It's inevitable. Here's what you do when that happens, and a site just doesn't dig your style. Post somewhere else. There are hundreds of artists on DA who post their racier (and even pornographic) stuff on sites that were made for that kind of thing, or even make sites of their own. It's that easy, really. Nothing to panic or get pissy over.

5: No, I would not tell another artist to "tone it down". It's their art, not mine.
DanteLetsRock Featured By Owner May 1, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
1. There is way too much nude content on Deviantart. Some of it tasteful and some of it distasteful. Indications of sex in the picture but hiding the parts at certain times but sometimes not at all. I don't have anything against tasteful nudes but violating the rules of the site is just plain wrong. I don't think gender really has anything to do with it I think it has more to do with the sexual mindset of the person viewing it. Of course they are going to call it "art" if they want to see more of it. By experience I have seen nothing but camera whores seeking attention with distasteful nudes asking questions such as : "How do I look?" , "What would you do to me?" etc. On top of that trying to use the site to sell the more pornographic images for money. The site is made to showcase art not to build self esteem for slutty people.

2. As far as censorship the site has guidelines onto what is permissible to post and often times the rules aren't enforced allowing for a growing increase in content that has no purpose being on this site. I have no problems with it on this site if you know your piece is to risque for this site find another website to post it on. Where I draw the line would be where the subject matter isn't covered in the guidelines.

3. Not that I am aware of. :P

4. I'm not sure what they can do other than find another site to post on. If they must absolutely show their genitals to someone they could always fall back on flashing the public either that and go to their true calling which is being a webcam model. Seriously I think some of the pictures are pulled from webcam videos.

5. It wouldn't hurt to have two particular incarnations of a work a toned down one and the graphic version of it. Adds extra pieces to an artist's collection.
tokyo18zelda Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I think the female (and male) body is a beautiful thing, and I enjoy artistic nudes. However, I think that a lot of artistic nudes are degrading to women. I have had to deal with males who treat females almost like pets, so I tend to be very judgemental about whether a photo is an artistic nude or just porn.
gloriagypsy Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2012  Professional General Artist
I believe that once women( I say women because I am one and I have seen and heard all the issues from women I know personally) become aware of the sacredness and beauty of their bodies (including the genitals) their ideas of "vulgar" "pornagraphic" "not artistic" etc. will change. Women are the epitome of of creativy ie. creation [link]. We (Humans) are a part of nature and all of nature is beautiful and sacred.
rhgraphicsolutions Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2012  Professional Interface Designer
I don't mind it as long as the proper setting are clicked in DA. I often look on here with my children around and like the mature content filter to be in use. I can always click on a deviation and view it when they are not in the room. whether it is Art or not is not the issue, just use some manners for all the rest of us.
Liam-Shotson Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
My Input

In all fairness, to those who find this to be not art, think of it this way, and I have versions to suit people.
For religious people - It is the art of a god that made is this way, it was, in essence, the original masterpiece, humans. He sculpted us with equal love, all being unique, all being our own murals, and we turn out our own art, as if we are following god's example.
For those who believe in evolution (myself included) - It is the art of evolution, we have formed this way over millions of years, becoming more and more unique in how our genetic palettes are handled, we all look different in one way or another, and we are changing the human race when we give birth, as the genetics mingle, some dominating others in a genetic war of DNA, seeing how the child will turn out even before birth! It will lead to more art! In reality, it was society that deemed "nudity" as it is, but the fact stands, it is a body, male or female it is still just an animal. Humans, Giraffes, Whales, Dogs, Bats, Eagles, Cats, etc, are all animals! Nudity isn't sick, it is natural.

Though you must remember, pornography is different than nudity. Though both are still an art, one could be considered dastardly despite being normal, as humans are genetically programmed to have needs, though with this, I would call it nudity, as some are fascinated with the human body and the bare idea of it. No hiding yourself in clothing, but exposing yourself and your imperfections and in some eyes, perfections. This is my opinion of DeviantArt's 'Artistic Nude' category, feel free to add on. Feel free to hate. If you reply with hate, you are feeding the art of creativity to insult me. Go nuts.
Tl;Dr? - Nudity is normal.
bllixy Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
1.I don't believe there is to much. But I am a man and I will agree I may be bias to some, however there is more than just female nudes. There is a cencorship so the art is only there if you wish to see it.

2.If it is possibly to much you can censor. Better to much censor than none at all. It is one click more to see it or you can dissable it all together but in doing so it is a concious act that you want to see them.

3.I have censored a poem once but it wasn't out there...

4.As an artist, it might hurt a little to feel that what you create or express need be hidden but isn't it better than having it kicked from DA all together?

5.NEVER. I have witnessed some pretty out there work, but I either comment them on piece well made or tell them I was a little shocked or so but I still never tell them to take away from what they have
Add a Comment: