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.
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.
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.
- 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?
- When is censorship of art permissible? Where would you draw the line? What rational rule could you offer as a practical guideline?
- Have you ever had a work of art you created censored or banned in any way?
- 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?
- 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?
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?
- "Athena's on the Qui Vive" by *erwintirta
- all that I do is wait for you by *shadowimagephoto
- .............................. by ~panpropanbutan
- haunted by ~dysny
- Up by *JaimeIbarra
- Cocoon by ~pauline-greefhorst
- When spring comes by ~St-JR
- meremaid by ~WeissChristian
- The World In My Mind by =vishstudio
- Sorciere by ~St-JR
- ToV: Requiem - Morning by *Sinn4u
- healing by ~Roguetwo
- F..k tha Police by *idaniphotography
This article may be redistributed on the web by link and with attribution to deviantART but not re-printed without deviantART's permission.