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Naked in the Museum: TD&A - Part 2
by Lilika Ruby
2011-02-08 09:48:34
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I decided it was unfortunate - and totally inequitable - to only include images of the female nude in my compendium of museum nakedness. Consequently, I’ve taken the liberty of including a new appendage alongside T&A.

nakedlist_002_img1_400“Dick” seemed an important addition.

To launch this most recent redesign, I performed two almost identical Google searches: “male nude art” and “female nude art.”

As an image search – and as one might expect – the results were quite similar: a few fine art photographs and charcoal drawings interspersed with A LOT of pornography. (Okay, so there was a lot MORE pornography in the results of the “male nude art” search, but still.)

Much more interesting – though again, as one might expect – were the results of the web search. As I tend to very unscientifically consider the first page of hits a fair indicator of the far reaches of the interweb, I generally ignore the other 2,746,000 results and/or reassign my keywords when I don’t find what I’m looking for.

But happily, the first page of hits for “female nude art,” contained five which were directly connected to and/or critically investigative of the nude female form in art history.

Score. This is what I was looking for.

But alas – the “male nude art” search only turned up one measly hit that had anything to do with art history, theory, or criticism. Fighting the urge to question the efficacy of my search terms, I continued to browse and found that to get to anything even close to what I’d seen on the first page for females, I had to go to page FOUR. And for those of you who do a lot of searching (and at this point, don’t we all??) you know that this may as well be page 4000.

Now for those of you who may be questioning my credentials at this point (I mean really, hasn’t she ever seen a Greek sculpture?) please realize I am aware that there’s plenty of male nudity throughout art history. It’s just, well, that’s not really what I’m getting at. As a female – and feminist – artist, I’m curious about access to meaningful depictions and critical conversations about the male nude.

And yes, okay, to bare naked men.

            The search is on. But to get things started, here’s a link to the single good hit, Nude Male Art.


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Mirva2011-02-08 13:26:16
And the point is?

Emanuel Paparella2011-02-08 17:24:09
Perhaps it bears pointing out that behind the pictures of the two male nude bodies there is a story and it is recounted by none other than Dante whom one sees in the background. It is the story of two men who hated each other with a passion and even in hell they continue to fight each other or eat each other’s liver (or cranium as the case may be). The pose of those nudes depicts what Dante wants to convey, which is to say, in great art the form and the content are in harmony. Funny too that the search did not produce the quintessential male nude: Michelangelo’s David. The other day I received a copy of the David from a friend with the David fattened up so that he is twice his weight. He does not look as aesthetically pleasing as the original and the reason is obvious. My friend said that they sent him to America and he went to Burger King once too often. Be that as it may, when I take my students to Italy in the summer and we are under the pedestal of the David I always make sure to tell them that to understand anything at all about this statue one has to contemplate it from the neck up and not from the neck down. Of course the statue is beautiful as a whole but the genitalia of any man are the same as that of any other and tell you nothing about the character of the man. That face however will not be found on any Greek nude statue and represents the synthesis of antiquity (Greco-Roman civilization) with Christianity. Without understand that one understands precious little about the Renaissance.

To answer Mirva's question above, i.e., the feminist point of view which seems to have been missed, when Hugh Hefner launched his so called "sexual revolution" which allegedly has liberate us all, he was approached by a feminist who asked him if he did not think that those centerfolds of his Playboy magazine were an exploitation of women. He promptly replied that they were works of art aesthetically pleasing; that beautiful young women’s bodies ought to be celebrated and admired in the nude. To which the interlocutor replied with a challenging proposal: why don’t we celebrate men’s bodies too and why don’t we place your nude body in the centerfold. Heffner refused the challenge, perhaps because he was too intelligent not to understand that one needs not see the centerfold to grasp that the magazine is a denigration of women. It would be enough to read the letters to the editors. And so he has continued to laugh all the way to the bank while selling his magazine as art. Not bad for somebody who was born and has remained a Puritan. Unlike Dante, Heffner considers sex hygienically, not as an interpersonal intimate relationship between a man and a woman. He is the other side of the Puritan. Sex is either bad for your soul (the Puritan) of is good for your psyche, the more the better. What is lost sight of is the true meaning of sex. Indeed the Puritan within us Americans dies hard, even when it produces Playboy.

Lilika Ruby2011-02-08 20:11:37
There was actually supposed to be a working link as part of that final sentence:


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