Since the dawn of time there has been nudity in art. The ancient Greeks had statues of nude gods and the renaissance harbored predominantly nude depictions of angels and demons. Recently a photo featured by the MCTC Photo Club by Joe Wesselman of a naked back end outside the digital photo department has caused a small controversy.
Some students got vocal by saying they find it to be lude, and other students actually demanded the photo be taken down out of respect. It comes as a surprise that anyone would be offended by a photo of a butt taken by a student artist. Though sometimes nudity is used as a way to stir up controversy, it is also sometimes just plain and simple love for human anatomy and all its awe inspiring beauty.
Let’s just propose the artist really did choose the nude photo to stir up controversy. If that is the case, then the art itself has succeeded in its purpose. Art is meant to be taken in personally. Its supposed to charge you with emotions and thoughts, and take you to a different plane of existence where you look at it and your mind and body is someplace else. If that place is an angry place, that is okay. If its a peaceful place, that’s okay too.
You’re supposed to feel raw, exposed, and out of touch with your feelings when you look at some particular pieces of media, and whether you think its offensive or not, doesn’t change the fact that its art by nature. Its in your face, you don’t want to look, but at the same time you can’t look away. It stirs up feelings that you didn’t have before seeing the photo, and in that way, it served its purpose, stirring the pot, or not.
Now on another note, maybe the artist just wanted to appreciate the human form in all its natural, bodacious beauty. Though not quite stirring the pot, this premise can also, in its own way, stir up the human pathos. Bodies are beautiful, full of energy, constantly moving and since most of us are humans, they’re pretty relatable. We all have bodies, and though some of us aren’t showing them off, we all have butts. If this photo of a nude body isn’t art, then what is?