Originally Posted by GlennT
There are two different elements here, nudity, and nakedness. Nudity is art that has been created for centuries up to the present, done in a tasteful and artistic manner whereby the emphasis is on the expression of the soul, or idea beyond the form. Or upon the aesthetic beauty of the human form. The other expression of "nakedness" is the use of the human form to consciously emphasize sexuality and erotic elements. This is done more in other areas outside of fine art, such as billboards, TV, movies, pornography, advertising, etc.
The distinctions of sexualized and un-sexualized are nice. The conscious emphasis of a sexualized form seems somewhat accurate (I do question what emphasis means—even some of the oldest Greek and Egyptian works seem to carry a sexualized air) but the terms nude and naked are a little unwieldy. Naked is probably just the wrong word. Naked has other senses, that of plain exposure, a kind of unvarnished truth, maybe even the emotional fragility that comes from exposing ones thoughts, feelings or form. These very normal human experiences often touch the soul. Maybe the expression of this is one of the ways that nude figures have improved the world.
This whole forum is hard. On one hand, nude forms are part of our lives now and have been for at least 30,000 years. They are in parks, houses, churches, on public buildings, and even adorn roadside triangles, granted maybe less so in the US then Europe but certainly more so then say in the Arabian states. On the other hand, there seems to be a hypersensitivity to nudity at the same time as there is a hypocritical movement in the media and advertising to sexualize just about everything. To the sensitive, it must fester to the point where any nudity can only be deemed sexual in nature or yet another insult to dearly held mores.
The in-your-face artists shock all and especially the sensitive. Right or wrong one has to grant that this is one of the intentions. These artist are brave (more so than I would be) but how studied expressing these intentions are or the reactions to these intentions, is and will remain in question. But as disturbing as the images are, I don’t buy that they, and in turn, all nude figures are the cause and the downfall to 30,000 or more years of human culture.
The tendency in this culture is to try being heard by radicalizing an issue. The more extreme the statement, the more likely that it will discussed. With this subject it is happening with a form that may be as old (and arguably older) as humans concept of god.