Nudity as Art

iBrian

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What constitutes "art" is pretty much a debate within art itself.

At it's core, I would suggest that "art" seeks to move the audience, and even inspire them to consider looking at specific subjects in different ways.

The human body itself can be remarked to be a wrok of art - but when the subject of that art is to purposefully instill feelings of sexual desire, you're more likely to see it labelled as pornography.

Of course, there are some over-simplifications in the above, but ultimately it seems that the difference between art and porn is one of grey areas - with extremes where some artists may claim that all porn is art (as is everything), while some may say that there is clear distinction in how to tell the difference.

The question is - when dealing with the subject of nudity, when is it art, and when is it simply pornography? Can such a distinction be really made?

Discussion starter. :)
 
I said:
The question is - when dealing with the subject of nudity, when is it art, and when is it simply pornography? Can such a distinction be really made?

Discussion starter. :)

Yes, the distinction can be made - but I think, only by each viewer for themselves. The variance on what is considered erotic/pornographic is extremely broad over time and culture and place. Someone from the 1880s walking around Washington DC downtown in the summer time would be scandalized - not only ankles (*blush*) but KNEES (*horror*) are visible in public, on ladies. Of course that same person would have no problem going into the National Gallery and admiring the statuary and paintings showing much less clothing. The setting has always made a big difference.
 
The question is - when dealing with the subject of nudity, when is it art, and when is it simply pornography? Can such a distinction be really made?

I think it is safe to say that pornography can be identified by a specific type of behaviour that its viewers tend to engage in, and is produced in order to gain said reaction... {JMHO}
 
seattlegal said:
I think it is safe to say that pornography can be identified by a specific type of behaviour that its viewers tend to engage in, and is produced in order to gain said reaction... {JMHO}
I would say that the 'art' can be separated from the 'pornography' by the "public test:" if you notice folks "displaying sexual behaviour inappropriate for the public," and inappropriate around children, then it's pornography, IMHO.
 
I would say that art is defined by the one appreciating the art, not the one who makes it or anything intrinsic.

Therefore, I can appreciate the artform of nude modelling in Playboy, or I can jerk off to a statue of Venus (or Mona Lisa if I've got a thing for weird smiles). It's my attitude that makes it art or pornography for me.

This is not entirely theoretical. Books like Lady Chatterley's lover can be read as literature, but also simply as 'dirty books'.
 
Hello,

I am an artist, myself. I appreciate many forms of art, and nudity is just one of the many forms. When I took life drawing in college, I was, at times, embarrassed over the subject matter -- the positions of the person(s), the direction of their gaze, or even the physical appearance of the individuals. To me, nudity is not the problem. It is reaction of the on-looker. The intensions of the artist could be pure and honest, but it is the audience that determines the final result.

A friend sent me some photos of some statues and I posted them on my forum. There are a couple of them that are nude so you are fairly warned. :)

Here is the URL: http://misfitscentral.proboards46.com/index.cgi?board=art&action=display&thread=1142010078

I would like to know whether or not these artistic rendering are acceptable to the audience here at CR or if they would be considered burnable. :eek:

It was mentioned in another thread about the difference between nudity as art and pornography. By definition, nudity is without clothing, e.g. a person is nude when they take a shower. Pornography is not entirely without clothes, and pornography is without any artistic value, by definition, but, still, some people call it art by thinking of it as creative.

What we are really talking about here is, "What is offensive?"

I can give you an example that is not nudity or pornography, and we see it all the time. TV commercials. Victoria Secret, Tampons, Viagra, Herpes, Menopause medication, Birth Control, the list goes on and on.

How do the people here at CR except some of the profound sexual intensions of these commercials on TV -- is it art or is it using sex to attract attention? I am not sure if UK or other countries' commercials are similar to the American version, but, IMO, they are abusive and offensive.

Well, there it is, take it or leave it.

warmly,
Sassafras

BTW, Brian, on the Baha'i thread, Erotica, you stated at the beginning, that someone might take the title to be offensive and someone did. Then there were conversations about pornography and playboy and the highly offensive qualities of this type of "art" so you create a post to attract these people away from the Baha'i thread so the topic could stay true to the Baha'i conversation, but instead of calling this new thread "Erotica" or "Pornography", you call it "Nudity as Art" which is a less offensive title even though the topic is about "Pornography as Art". Why use the soft title here and yet have a offensive title somewhere else? Just wondering.
 
The choice of title originally was because I wanted to ask about Baha'i attitudes specific to pornography - what scriptures may be used for this position - and although I originally was going to use the title "pornography" over there, I tried to make it look less offensive by calling it "erotica".

During that thread, the issue of nudity and art came up, and rather than mire the Baha'i board in a wider contentious issue, I moved the discussion here so that we could address the topic without being seen to try to challenge the viewpoint of any individual faith.

Hope that helps. :)
 
In the islands of Palau, Ponapei, Mog Mog, Truk, the atolls around them, there are tribes of people from 50 to 200 total. When we arrive at the islands with their supplies, medicines, school books, and diesel fuel for their emergency generators, they greet us at the beach, with a series of wild boars and beasts buried and cooking over coals in the sand (and have been for 10 hours before we arrived, even though they have no radar nor radio to know we were coming.

Male and female, yet narry a stitch of clothing on either, but for a loin breech. And do you know who is embarrased, who looks away, and who feels out of place? We do.

I've seen it over and over again. Some young 18 year old sailor sees a pretty island girl, and starts thinking about her, in ways he shouldn't be. Almost as if she has psychic abilities, she zeros in on him, eye to eye, and she smiles slightly, however it isn't a come on smile. It is a reproving look, which invariably causes the young sailors to turn away in total embarrassment, because their desires were exposed. We more seasoned sailors, understand to let it be, and let the young ladies teach the young men an important lesson about life...one can't have what is not theirs, not even in the mind.

Later at the feast, the ladies and men dance for us before a fire and drums and instruments of melody, so haunting and riveting, like nothing I've ever seen on Broadway. When it is over, we pound the sand and logs with sticks to show our enthusiastic approval. All the while the young sailors watch us and the islanders in bemused confusion. But they are learning.

The beauty of form and body and dance, and colors does not come automatically with a sex tag attached. Art, can be appreciated for what it is, an expression of self, and a presentation to the world of that expression.

Besides the obvious pictures and films designed for sexual gratification, "art" is not pornography, unless the individual experiencing it, converts it to such, within his/her own mind. That is not the fault of the artist, or the artist's work, but solely lies on the shoulders of the one experiencing that art.

In the movie "Titanic" DeCaprio's character shows the young lady his nude drawings that he did in paris in 1912. The woman viewing his sketches commented about the "brazen sultriness" of his models (one in particular). DeCaprio looked at her in all seriousness, and stated "You are missing the point, look at the beauty in her hands. She had such beautiful hands..."

And indeed, his sketches did infact concentrate on the details of the model's hands and fingers. To which the woman asked DeCaprio if she had been his lover...

"Hell no, she was a one legged prostitute, but she had a good sense of humor...but it was her beautiful hands that caught my attention." And sure enough, as the lady looked through the rest of the sketches she realized the truth of the model's figure being marred, but for the hands.

I have seen a mother nursing her child on a subway train. It wasn't pornography running through my mind. It was the beauty of mother and child, it was an intimate moment that I glimpsed, and found wonderous. I didn't stare, but did meet the mother's eyes, and nodded slightly in acknowledgement, with an accepting smile, then turned away as appropriate.

In my mind's eye I can still see mother and child, frozen in time, contentment on the faces of both, beauty in form and fulfillment. I have a masterpiece in love locked in my memories.

my thoughts

v/r

Q
 
In the islands of Palau, Ponapei, Mog Mog, Truk, the atolls around them, there are tribes of people from 50 to 200 total. When we arrive at the islands with their supplies, medicines, school books, and diesel fuel for their emergency generators, they greet us at the beach, with a series of wild boars and beasts buried and cooking over coals in the sand (and have been for 10 hours before we arrived, even though they have no radar nor radio to know we were coming.

Male and female, yet narry a stitch of clothing on either, but for a loin breech. And do you know who is embarrased, who looks away, and who feels out of place? We do.

Joshua, my old friend!! Take me with you next time? Please?... Heh.
 
well... its all naughtiness ere, innit? masturbation yesterday, and nuddie books today! this forum rocks!

however, to attempt to answer ur question, Brian...

(when dealing with the subject of nudity, when is it art, and when is it simply pornography? Can such a distinction be really made?)

I think that the only distinction between art and porn is...pink shots and erections. Michaelangelo's David might be in the nuddie, but his penis is not the focus. Venus might have her boobies out, but the focus is not on her boobs, but her overall form. Both works could be viewed as arousing, but neither of them would be considered porn. For me, within art, decent art, anyway, there is that transmission of message from artist to afficionado, and maybe that is something pure, some loveliness worth sharing, or maybe that is some captured ideal, some visual symbolism, a means to communicate, whereas with porn, even arty porn, its all a bit desperate and forced looking, big hair, fake boobs, wet round mouths, glossy plucked skin, lacy panties... I best stop now, in case I succumb to self-abuse...
 
Really great story Q. And Francis...I personally believe that "succumb" is one of the most descriptive words in the King's English.

flow....;)
 
"In the islands of Palau, Ponapei, Mog Mog, Truk, the atolls around them, there are tribes of people from 50 to 200 total. When we arrive at the islands with their supplies, medicines, school books, and diesel fuel for their emergency generators, they greet us at the beach, with a series of wild boars and beasts buried and cooking over coals in the sand (and have been for 10 hours before we arrived, even though they have no radar nor radio to know we were coming. " Quote from Q

My goodness Q when were you there? These islands are not like that anymore, I have been to all of them and have many friends there. I hate to say but the people were probably already cooking for the families and did not know you were on your way .... when strangers arrive, food (even if cooked for the family) is always offered first to the guests. By the way for those that have never been there .... these are beautiful islands with strong traditions, much of my knowledge of the ancient ways I learned on some of these islands. Nudity (since some of the women on the outer islands still go topless when visitors aren't around) is considered natural .... but these women would never show their thighs as do women visitors who sometimes wear bathing suits when swimming, and the local women are shocked when they see this .... such are cultural differences that make our world so fascinating .... aloha nui, poh
 
well... its all naughtiness ere, innit? masturbation yesterday, and nuddie books today! this forum rocks!

however, to attempt to answer ur question, Brian...

(when dealing with the subject of nudity, when is it art, and when is it simply pornography? Can such a distinction be really made?)

I think that the only distinction between art and porn is...pink shots and erections. Michaelangelo's David might be in the nuddie, but his penis is not the focus. Venus might have her boobies out, but the focus is not on her boobs, but her overall form. Both works could be viewed as arousing, but neither of them would be considered porn. For me, within art, decent art, anyway, there is that transmission of message from artist to afficionado, and maybe that is something pure, some loveliness worth sharing, or maybe that is some captured ideal, some visual symbolism, a means to communicate, whereas with porn, even arty porn, its all a bit desperate and forced looking, big hair, fake boobs, wet round mouths, glossy plucked skin, lacy panties... I best stop now, in case I succumb to self-abuse...

Whats wrong with fake boobs??? Indeed they are not practical and just nice to look at... isn't that art?
 
"In the islands of Palau, Ponapei, Mog Mog, Truk, the atolls around them, there are tribes of people from 50 to 200 total. When we arrive at the islands with their supplies, medicines, school books, and diesel fuel for their emergency generators, they greet us at the beach, with a series of wild boars and beasts buried and cooking over coals in the sand (and have been for 10 hours before we arrived, even though they have no radar nor radio to know we were coming. " Quote from Q

My goodness Q when were you there? These islands are not like that anymore, I have been to all of them and have many friends there. I hate to say but the people were probably already cooking for the families and did not know you were on your way .... when strangers arrive, food (even if cooked for the family) is always offered first to the guests. By the way for those that have never been there .... these are beautiful islands with strong traditions, much of my knowledge of the ancient ways I learned on some of these islands. Nudity (since some of the women on the outer islands still go topless when visitors aren't around) is considered natural .... but these women would never show their thighs as do women visitors who sometimes wear bathing suits when swimming, and the local women are shocked when they see this .... such are cultural differences that make our world so fascinating .... aloha nui, poh

Lol, 1988-1991 on the Coast Guard Cutter Basswood. I should have emphasized the "atolls" around there as opposed to Palau, Ponepei or Truk. Indeed, they were waiting for us before we came over the horizon, because we brought the quarterly medicines, school books, spare parts and fuel for their generators and the beer. :D

At the time Micronesia was a set of independant countries but still protectorates of the US. So we took care of what they needed, and they entertained the hell out of us (especially when we started drinking Faluba). We also traded with them (their driftwood carvings for cigarettes, soda, ball caps, knives, tools). Sometimes one of our new Chiefs would have the honor of being initiated by their Chiefs. At night the islanders would stretch a sheet between two Palms, and we would bring the 16mm projector from the ship and show movies. Rain or not, they would watch and clap and ask us to play them over again all night long. The favorite seemed to be Disney's "Fantasia". I suppose it is because music is the universal language all can understand.

Interestingly, many of the young adults were graduates of places like UCLA, or USC, and then they came back home, because they knew they had the best where they grew up.

v/r

Joshua
 
Yay! Mueck! He was one of the few artists you had to book to see and the queues were down the street. He used to make animatronics for Jim henson, but now he does brutally realistic sculptures that have been described as "psychic bombardment".

I actually think pornography is a subset of art. We make it, so it's an artificial artifact. Art for short. I'm not sure that even the great masters like Michaelangelo weren't a little turned on by all that "form appreciation"!

Pornography literally means sexual writings or pictures, but the Greek word Pornea (the sex bit) carries connotations of forced sex or bought sex.

So if you wanted a literal difference between art and pornography, you could say that art respects and pornography doesn't. But that's still too ambiguous and sweeping. There are producers of pornography that respect their stars, who really enjoy what they're doing, and there are artists who like to express the baser side of human emotions and actions, so, er... no, sorry, I still don't know... :)
 
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