Saturday, May 14, 2005

Covering Up Michelangelo's Nudity

Here's another subject for debate: should art work be changed so that it is not "offensive" when it is used in a classroom?

When coming up with lesson plans for my 1st and 3rd grade kids, I took care to use artworks that didn't include nudity. But the following story takes place in a high school. Certainly there will be some snickering, but does that give the authorities the reason to change Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel painting???

This story is from the Arizona Star:

It's one of the most recognized works of art in the world - the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
But, after several recent controversies about art at local schools, students in a mural class at Palo Verde High Magnet School knew from the beginning that their duplication of Michelangelo's masterpiece could be problematic.
If they were to paint the famous scene of God and a naked Adam touching fingertips, it might not go over well with students and administrators without some compromise.
Still, it took a while to get things right.
First, they painted a fig leaf over Adam's private parts.
"We knew we needed to cover it," said senior Lorel Voss, who thought the religious reference would be a bigger issue than the nudity. "We put a fig leaf. No one said anything for weeks."
But the fig leaf turned out to be more distracting than the area in question, school officials say. So, teacher Chelsea Farrar suggested a bush. But students thought it would be ugly, and went straight to administrators.
The compromise: A flowing sash to hide the area.
The situation illustrates the difficult balance educators face in integrating fine art into the high school classroom. It's a balance being debated frequently this year and one that Tucson's biggest school district will address with a committee that meets for the first time today.

1 comment:

  1. Wasn't this lampooned 15 years ago on a Simpsons episode? Some things just never change...