Exposing it all down in Kitchener

NudeArt - Joshua Awolade online

Graphic by Joshua Awolade

With the coming of its latest exhibit Getting Naked on March 6, THEMUSEUM will be exploring the cultural perceptions of the naked body and how society views such work.

“It is very interesting when today you are bombarded by naked bodies on HBO television series and over the Internet, that the depiction of a naked body on canvas or in stone as an artwork still has that ability to cause strong reactions and people feel uncomfortable,” said Victoria Eichhorn, curator of the exhibit.

The concept for this exhibit first came to light last August, when CEO of THEMUESUM, David Marskell, approached Eichhorn about the idea of exploring these nude artworks.

“He had said that he had been meeting with the CEO of the Art Bank and although they had a couple thousands of these amazing artworks, they were rarely rented,” she said. “People shied away form them because of the subject matter depicted.”

Eichhorn had previously collaborated with THEMUSEUM, most notably for the 2001 exhibit Searching for Tom.

For this exhibit she curated over 100 pieces of art from late 19th to the 21st century.

“Even those are by some of Canada’s best known artists — artists who are really strong pedigree and whose work are in public collections across the country — people didn’t feel comfortable with them.”

In exploring the role of the nude in art, Eichhorn wanted to root out people’s discomfort of the naked body in a certain context.

“It seems like a really interesting opportunity to challenge people to where that discomfort comes from and to look at it as an opportunity for depictions of bodies which are necessarily the quote-unquote young and perfect ones, but older ones; bodies of all shapes and sizes.”

Eichhorn believes that looking at the “the body as something that we universally experience and outside of its sexualized concept” will help people look at the subject matter in a more positive light.

“I hope that people will be challenging themselves to think about people’s feelings and expectations are when they think naked art initially and how they feel about it after leaving the exhibit; what preconceptions would they have gotten rid of.”

Although there are no plans for the exhibit to travel, Eichhorn hopes that once some of these works are viewed, it will incline more galleries to put them in other exhibits of their own.

“This is the first exhibit that has taken this level of compressive look at the nude in Canadian art. That it will be a really unique opportunity for people to see how the naked form has been used in Canadian art in the century.”

2 Comments

  1. You spelled THEMUSEUM wrong in the third paragraph.

  2. But otherwise, nice article.

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