Re-presenting the Nude II
Robert Henri wrote, “There is nothing in all the world more beautiful or significant of the laws of the universe than the nude human body.” Henri was no stranger to Santa Fe but he would have found it strange, I think, that in Santa Fe, we were asked by local authorities to remove a painting of a nude woman from the window of the gallery during Re-presenting the Nude in 2010.We returned with more provocative nudes last year in our exhibition Decadence, but we were wary of the window. And here we are again with Re-presenting the Nude II…still wary of the window.
Inside, visitors will find representations of the nude from a life-size sculpture of a little boy by Kate Lehman, to a life-size sculpture of an elderly woman by Peter Mühlhäuser, both “beautiful” and “significant of the laws of the universe”.
Finding art for these exhibitions is much easier than in the days when I would drive 35 miles from the Arnot Art Museum to Cornell University’s library to pour over periodicals and books on contemporary art. Selecting it is just as difficult. Themes come to mind and are rejected when works aren’t available. Paintings look good online and pale in person. Some artists and galleries choose not to participate, others make suggestions and offer additional works. It’s all a work-in-progress until we lay it out, hang in on the walls, and position sculptures and pedestals.
The nude in art always elicits a response. Our intention isn’t to elicit any specific response. Contemplation of life and death would be nice; the skill of the artists; the varieties of human experience; even humor:
There once was a sculptor called Phidias
Who had a distaste for the hideous.
So he sculpt Aphrodite
Without any nightie
Which shocked the ultra-fastidious.
Santa Fe Editor
American Art Collector