News from NAG March 2016
Art vs. Reality
It is not unknown that the Musee d’Orsay in Paris features nudes by some of the great artists of the past: Manet, Monet, Degas, Renoir, and the list goes on. In January though, visitors to the gallery a bit more exposure to the nude than they perhaps expected. Luxemburg-based performance artist Deborah de Robertis spent two days in custody after posing naked in parody of Manet’s Olympia. According to the BBC News website this was not the first time that de Robertis has given a live representation of a painting in the Musee, in 2014 she partially undress to give her interpretation of Gustave Courbet’s L’origine du Monde.
The lawyer for de Robertis, Tewfik Bouzenoune, said: ‘She’s not just stripping off… she is giving artistic performances. This time [de Robertis] was re-enacting Manet’s Olympia.’
The artist herself told the BBC: ‘They put on an exhibition about prostitution and then censure an artist who speaks for the naked model. I wanted to re-interpret Olympia, use the model as an author and record the reaction of the public.’
I’m sure this has been mentioned before, but it is strange that people accept the nude in art but have to be protected from someone living who is nude. How odd?
The Other Little Debate
Blogger Jillian Page noted in January that she hardly hears the term ‘colony’ in the context of a ‘nudist colony’ these days, which is perhaps not surprising since the word has gone out of fashion.
Among the definitions in my 1992 edition of the OED colony is defined as: 2(b) separated or segregated group (nudist colony). Clubs or resorts with a permanent population of nudists (naturists) – particularly those in the US perhaps – could therefore truly be called nudist colonies but in the UK we tend to live among the general populace with clubs only being occupied part of the year. So if the term has ever been used on this side of the Atlantic then to my mind it has been used incorrectly.
Then again, I’m probably fussing over nothing, do you agree?
Body Image at TEDx
Audiophiles – especially those on the far side of the pond – may already be aware of a programme on NPR (National Public Radio) called The TED Radio hour. It has recently come to my attention as the BBC Radio 4extra has started to broadcast it. However, a talk by Michelle Wallen for TEDx has been brought to my attention by a post by Felicity Jones of YNA fame. Michelle talks about fat shaming or more precisely perhaps body shaming, and it can affect anyone without the ‘perfect’ body that’s practically everyone.
If naturism helped Michelle come over her body image issues, surely it can help in other situations with the appropriate safeguards?
This is a subject that groups like our own keep coming back to and blogger Naturist Philosopher has had an idea. Possibly due to international interest gained recently, he has suggested a sweepstake to promote naturism to the wider public. Naturally there are problems to solve first, as Philosopher acknowledges, but surely there are two massive hurdles that suggest it is just not practical. First, and the simplest to define are the legal requirements of the nation holding the sweep. Admitted, I know nothing about US gambling law, but in the UK we shall definitely need a license with all the separate issues there. Still, if not-for-profits like CAMRA can organise a sweepstake, surely it cannot be beyond our capabilities!
The second hurdle is, I think, harder all round to define and perhaps resolve. It’s basically this, how can the organisers get its message about naturism over to those buying the ticket when their eyes are firmly fix on the prize.
A sweepstake might be a good idea to raise money to fund a ‘hearts and minds’ campaign in favour of naturism, just don’t expect the two jobs to be done by one sweepstake. One thing I would say for Naturist Philosopher, at least he is coming up with ideas. I don’t hear anything from the different national representative organisations around the world.