Friday, April 4, 2008

Nudity in art

As artists, I think we all need to speak out when art is censored. Here is a case I found particularly objectionable, especially since I am trained as a journalist and taught that the right to free expression (whether in words or images) is critical to the democratic process.

The Virginian-Pilot, the newspaper in Norfolk, Va., holds a competition for high school art students each year. This year, the student artist originally named first place did not receive her prize. It was taken away by newspaper executives who rejected two winners chosen by the first jurors because the work involved nudity.

The first judge selected Nancy "Beth" Reid's painting, a self portrait in which she is crouching, unclothed, but with no private parts visible.

The second judge selected a ceramic sculpture of a pregnant nude torso by Jasmine Childs. It was also rejected.

Local art lovers are raising $1,000 to give to Reid to make up for her lost prize winnings.

You can read the full story here, on The Virginian-Pilot's website:
http://hamptonroads.com/2008/04/art-lovers-raise-money-teen-who-lost-student-gallery-title

And you can leave a comment after you read the story.

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't link to the articles, but this gets my dander up. Issues about society's mixed messages about women's bodies, puritan views about sexuality, who controls images of women. Echoes of the Serrano/Mapplethorpe debate re: NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) funding in the 1980's.
    I hope that Ms. Reid gets the prize money, but what a blow not to get the actual prize because of the panel's moralizing.
    My art quilt 'Desert River Goddess' which shows a nude woman running through the desert was shown in the UK several years ago. Wonder what would happen if I enter it into a US quilt show? Hmmmmmm....
    Thank you for posting about this Susan.

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