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  • The Debate

    The Naked Truth

    Voyeuristic art has aroused lust, fascination and contempt in equal measure. Do artists make us more aware of our physical being-in-the-world? Or is nudity in art a sales tactic? Leading Da Vinci scholar Martin Kemp, eminent cultural theorist Griselda Pollock, and philosopher of art Hans Maes seek the naked truth.

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ColdComfort on 16/02/2012 10:16am

What??? The role of pornography is to arouse, the role of art is... diferent from this? What about the Mona Lisa, the odalisques of Velasquex, Titian, and Bourgereau. Art arouses just as much as porn, and this is explicitly its purpose in some cases. That porn just does it in isolation is the only difference - and by porn I don't just mean the seedy videos, but the beautiful ones, the pictures, the pin ups, the black and white images - all these half-rescued from this so-called den of iniquity. If that is your definition of porn, Mr Kemp, then I like it, but please put the art gallery in there as well.

mediatrixy on 16/02/2012 10:08am

@The Inquisitor: I'm sorry, but what you're saying amounts to little more than "a picture of anal sex is only porn if it's on a porn site". Forgive me if that's too blunt, but surely you have to concede that the picture has an independent meaning in an awful lot of cases. Of course, and I'm backtracking here, the difficulty is much harder when the image's meaning is ambivalent, or worse, arbitrary.

The Inquisitor on 14/02/2012 11:34am

Martin Kemp 05:45 - if the subject of a reading can be changed by simply putting a pornographic image in an art gallery, doesn't that show that it's not really the case that a pornographic image is inherently "narrative-less", but that the narratives are dictated by the context of the reception of the image? I.e. naked is just naked until it gets layered with meaning?

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