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Classical Beat
Posted at 01:07 PM ET, 08/19/2012

Of art and nudity: link

(FILES) This photo taken on February 13, 2012, shows an employee posing next to a 1932 painting by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso entitled 'Nude Woman in a Red Armchair' during the press preview of the 'Picasso and Modern British Art' exhibition at the Tate gallery in London. Edinburgh Airport was forced on August 8, 2012, to backtrack on its decision to cover a poster of this image, promoting an exhibition at the Scottish Museum of Modern Art, which some passengers had deemed too risque. The airport covered the image with white vinyl after saying it had received several complaints from passengers, but put it back on display a day later after the move sparked a volley of online criticism and was branded "bizarre" by the gallery. AFP PHOTO / CARL COURTCARL COURT/AFP/GettyImages (CARL COURT - AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
Last week, the Edinburgh Airport briefly censored a Picasso poster after a passenger complained about the nudity. In a brief piece I wrote in Sunday’s Washington Post, I opine that the problem is less the nudity than the art. The woman is blue, her hair is green, and she has a breast growing out of her sternum; it’s my contention that if the image were more realistic, it would bother people less, and that it’s the very unfamiliarity of the depiction (“unfamiliar” 80 years after it was painted) that makes some viewers resist. What are your thoughts?

This is not unrelated to classical music. I always tell the story of seeing a woman at a quartet recital sleep happily through Mozart and Brahms and bristle like a wet cat throughout the Lutoslawski, perhaps not realizing it was the only piece on the concert that she actually heard. I think that more literal representations of the female form might be akin to Mozart: people are able to perceive them as simply “pretty” and let them fade into the background.

By  |  01:07 PM ET, 08/19/2012

Tags:  Picasso

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