The path of the Western art tradition is choked with depictions of the unadorned, uncovered human figure. Now that this somewhat awkward metaphor is implanted in your brain, don't expect to see any nudity in the art displayed at the College of Southern Idaho.
The annual CSI student show will be on display through May 27, but some of the artwork submitted (and selected, as this is a juried show) has been banned from the exhibition by the school. Apparently, some members of the Twin Falls community--including CSI students and faculty--have complained about certain of the works in the show. Accordingly, the school has taken the path of least resistance and decided to run two concurrent shows, putting the student show at the school's Jean B. King Gallery and relegating the controversial pieces to the Lamphouse Theatre for a second show.
BW contacted the King Gallery for comment, and received an official statement from Amber Scoon, the school's gallery manager, which reads, in part:
"Among the accepted pieces, and indeed some of the art objects singled out as the finest works in painting, were images of human bodies in the nude. The Herrett Center Jean B. King Gallery has no published proscription on exhibiting such imagery and has displayed images of nudes in the past. However, resistance to the exhibition of nudes in the King Gallery has recently increased, and the staff has had to deal with complaints ... The CSI administration has also fielded complaints recently about the content of work being made in CSI art classes. Based upon [this] apprehension regarding nudes being displayed in this year's student show, art students and faculty, along with the administration, agreed to have two separate student art shows ... While the CSI art faculty does not view this resolution as a precedent for events in the future, it does serve as a vital educational opportunity to work with students toward an understanding of academic activity in the context of a specific set of political and cultural realities." (Read: cop-out.)
They cite a twofold reason for the decision: first, to avoid exposing young visitors to inappropriate material, and second, to prevent the show from becoming "a battleground for what many call the 'culture wars' going on in our society."
Hmm. Unless this is just CSI's publicity stunt to boost attendance. Eat your heart out, Duchamp.
Since BW was unable to obtain copies of the controversial images, we have imagined our own versions of what kind of thing might offend.