Saturday, January 15, 2011

Teacher's reply

Since my research is taking an eternity to compute (ahh, statistical software) I thought I'd post a follow-up to my email to my professor.
My professor was quite considerate, and addressed my concerns; he actually summed up my worry as a concern about priestcraft, which I thought was an interesting take. He reassured me that my grades would NOT be based on coerced risk, and also conducted a class discussion on the topic. As it turns out, what I was worried about is not only unethical, it is also entirely illegal. Anyway, I was more than satisfied - impressed, even - with my teacher's response, and am enjoying the class.

On a side note, I have submitted a poem to a BYU creative writing journal, and will this evening submit the same poem to "Third Coast" creative writing journal. The poem is rather edgy; I intentionally used some imagery that some find offensive or disgusting. I think the overall effect can be uplifting, however, and that was the point.

I think it fits on the last part of this post, by Cassandra Barney, on art (specifically, her quote that one must expose something vulnerable for art to happen). Like her painting, my poem is a little edgy for an overall benefit; though I must admit this type of art (both her painting and my poem) pose something of a problem for me. I had a long discussion with a friend about the poem; she called it "harsh art." My question is this: is there a place for a painting of a naked woman in modern LDS art? I think so, but the tougher question then becomes: where is the line between nude art, or harsh art, and pornography?


  1. I love and hate this question! I have thought about it so much. I mean, what makes something pornographic? Is it artists intent? Is it the viewer? Does that mean we have to restrict art and give people art recommends to make sure it is okay for them to see a brilliantly nude? I mean, a homosexual man probably isn't going to have many problems with a naked Emma Smith figuratively/literally bearing her soul/pain, but maybe for someone else that is a problem. The line is so hard to draw. The simplest answer seems to be just to not have it, but then, I don't know, it is art. The subjectivity of it screws with everything.

  2. haha! You must be over the line because when I tried to bring up your blog this time, our NetNanny (internet protection software for our kids) blocked it because it was "adult/mature". Never had that problem before! LOL Pretty sure it was because you used the word "pornography". Too funny!

  3. I knew a kid that would draw his own porn. I also know a kid who found a picture in a national geographic magazine of a bunch of naked senior citizen women in a pool and he used that as porn. I think it is in the intent of the viewer that makes something pornographic. But the topic is so much more complex than just a simple answer.

  4. Are underwear ads pornographic? To a just-entering puberty 12 year old, probably, no matter which store they are from. To a woman, probably never. Kohl's ads, not really. Victoria's Secret (or, worse, Frederick's of Hollywood), really tending. So the answer has to be a blend of creator intent as well as viewer response. I am in no way trying to imply that underwear ads are art! The point is, some 'artistic' pieces are meant to inspire a sexual/titillation response. And they probably will in just about any viewer. Others are meant to honor/adore the human body (a humanist viewpoint -- is this worthwhile art? is this celebration of the body appropriate? if so, to what extent? is a different discussion) and will probably not be (sexually) arousing to most viewers. Maybe. Speaking from a married w/children female perspective. :) So artist intent has a lot to do with it. But each viewer is also responsible for their response, and especially for their own reasons for viewing a piece.