Sunday, November 11, 2007


This past Wednesday, my photos titled Clean 1 and Clean 2 were draped with black cloth while on view at the Art Center in Nacogdoches, Texas. The prints are on display as part of the Stephen F. Austin faculty show which closes this week. A high school arts teacher who previewed the show before bringing her students in asked that the two semi-nude images be covered prior to their arrival.

Upon entering the gallery, the art director was asked to discuss why the images were covered. His reply...."This is censorship."

Normally I would have caused a fuss about the situation however, last year, a fifth-grade arts teacher lost her job after taking her art students on a principal and parent approved filed trip to the Dallas Museum of Art. "Parents raised concerns over the field trip after their children reported seeing a nude sculpture at the art museum."

Who could blame this teacher for wanting to keep her job but what is really going on here? What changed that made parents and teachers so nervous to show their students nude ART. Not pornography, not violent sex scenes, not blood or gore. I think most students see more damaging images on television, in the movies and in their video games. I'm not saying this should or shouldn't been allowed but how can you put art shown in a gallery setting in to the same category and censor it more than you would censor images coming in to your own home?

I suppose its too much to ask for a student or parent to see something that makes them the slightest bit uncomfortable–asks them to look at an image of a semi-nude woman and see her as more than a naked figure. Unfortunately, these students missed out on the context of the images, my story and the reason for the nudity in the first place. So did their teacher.