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Gunther von hagen - guns at high noon!

 
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Jeanette Lewis



Joined: 13 Oct 2009
Posts: 595
Location: Merseyside U.K.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:00 am    Post subject: Gunther von hagen - guns at high noon! Reply with quote

Hello all,
I am in the middle of a heated debate with my daughters school upon the value or otherwise of showing a class of 13yr olds the copulating cadavers of Von Hagen.
The head of art says it is for "anatomy purposes", I say "&8*-+* !" to that.
If anyone would be kind enough to suggest good modern anatomists I could research and recommend I'd be gratefful, as I would like to present the school with a list of alternatives.
(As yet, they haven't been taught proportion, muscle groups or skeletal structure)
I could say more at this point as to why I feel it is unfair to burden teenagers in the bloom of their sexuality with such negative images - but I will save that for the showdown at the school which will come some time next week.
Thanks a lot everyone; what ever your opinion - do post, even if you do not agree with me - I will appreciate it.
Thanks Jeanette
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Vikki Farrington



Joined: 13 Jul 2009
Posts: 61
Location: Hawaii

PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hey jeanette, I had to google. is there only one pose they will be seeing? or will they be seeing an etire exhibit? there seems to be only one I can find. what is it that bothers you in particular? is it just the overall look of the exhibition? could just be the overall aesthetics vs the subject matter? would you be more comfortable with them seeing something sexual if done in a more beautiful way?

as fascinating as this exhibit may be I doubt I would go out of my way to see it. if I was more medically inclined, yes, or interested in forensic sculpture I would go.

I pretty much go on no censorship in art or education. I also no longer have school age children so this is very easy for me to say. the first thing that comes to mind with the pose I saw on line (besides the overall aesthetics) is the position of the lovers, it is an "advanced move" Wink I doubt I could have imagined at 13 that lovemaking was done any way other then standard "missionary". but that would surely look boring.

when I consider what kids see on music videos and such they probably are far more informed then I was at that age and already know there is more then one way. if that is the case the cat is already out of the bag and I would say talk with your child in depth and explain your concerns to her.

does your daughter already know you don't want her to see this, if so she may have it built up in her head that is is something far more interesting then it is. something forbidden is always titillating. to squelch that I would show her pictures of what they will see so she isn't surprised by any of it.

in the end considering how I feel about censorship in art and sex ed (for an appropriate age) I would let my child go, giving up my uncomfortableness with the information of more then one position for the overall information gained in other areas.

good luck, so glad my kid is an adult.
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Jeanette Lewis



Joined: 13 Oct 2009
Posts: 595
Location: Merseyside U.K.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Vikki,
Thanks for your views. My daughter is o.k. with sexual matters, we talk about everything and have a good relationship. Catholics enjoy sex as much as everyone else, contrary to popular opinion! Very Happy

Hee Hee, "Advanced Move!" I would say there is more than one way to skin a cat, but that might have bestial connotations where Gunter is concerned....(could give him ideas for his next exhibit!) Smile

I suppose the best way to explain my objection would be to agree with your comment :
"fascinating as this exhibit may be I doubt I would go out of my way to see it "
That is because as an adult you have a choice, but having a slide show given by the teacher in school, takes away a child’s freedom of choice – they are a captive audience.
I can't see that a child of 13 needs to see a combination of sex and death in a poor excuse for an anatomy lesson. (Maybe it would put them off sex forever…?!)
It is not good educational practice as it is too advanced for teaching artistic anatomy...most kids that age, are still making "morph" figures and toy soldiers. (Blimey me too! Very Happy )
I'm not trying to convince anyone here of my philosophy - I am just curious as to where the status quo is with this.
Thanks again for the reply -
Jeanette
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Vikki Farrington



Joined: 13 Jul 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I went to catholic school and do know catholics love sex. they just want to make sure we are doing it under approved conditions Wink like I said glad I don't have a kid in school these days.

I would feel a bit better if the kids saw the entire exhibit and not just one or two. at least if they saw many poses the ones that are more controversial may just blend in. as you say many kids that age are in their own world and the lovers may not even register with them.

I think in the case of this exhibit I would rather the kids saw it in person then a slide show. I doubt you could really get the feel of the anatomy as well in a slide show vs an exhibit. just like seeing a real skeleton of bones makes a far greater impression then a photo of one.

I would hope the kids and or parents would be able to allow their kids to opt out of this one if they wanted. I think the creepy factor would be bothersome to several. I do think if the kid is going to be turned off at the exhibit, they would be turned off at every action depicted.

good luck.
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Phil Minchinton



Joined: 02 Mar 2009
Posts: 190
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw the exhibition in London a number of years ago when it first came to the UK. I found it to be an excellent way to look closely at anatomy from a sculptural viewpoint but I also saw it from other aspects of having studied human biology at school (catholic) and a background of seeing the human body in various states through my 32 years in the fire service. Admittedly I was an experienced adult, but the fact that these are the plastinated bodies of volunteers didn't really have any impact. Rather that here was a three dimensional realisation of Da Vinci's dissection studies displaying the wonder of the human body and it's systems in today's context. There is no discernable difference between these and the early coloured wax anatomical models except that they are finer. Of course every parent has the right to decide, my wife would definitely not have gone, but I would have had no problem with either of my two children seeing the exhibition; this is life. I would encourage all to see it in all its fragility and beauty as much as I would encourage everyone to visit Auchswitz to 'feed' the natural thirst for knowledge and understanding of the human condition.
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Jeanette Lewis



Joined: 13 Oct 2009
Posts: 595
Location: Merseyside U.K.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Phil,
thanks for your thoughts, I think its possible to get de-sensitized to some things. My husband works with the criminally insane. He has to de-sensitize to some extent from the crimes they have committed, and of course, how some of them choose to end their lives. Not a job you would give to a child - as you say you were an experienced adult, which is part of my objection to the schools use of them.
Vikki concedes that they are ghoulish at best.
I see your point about Da Vinci, I think he was studying anatomy from a scientific view as well as an artistic one. He did some wonderful drawings on the position of a baby in the womb as I recall, and I beleive there is an exhibit like this.
You say there is no discernable difference between these and the early wax studies - which poses the question why- (if these truly are exhibited in the pursuit of anatomical knowledge) should some cadavers be exhibited in such sexual poses; the lady with high boots putting on nail polish for example???
One reason Gunter is controversial, is that at one point he aquired the bodies of Chinese prisoners who had been executed. I don't think they volunteered for the "work". A German magazine did an expose I believe, and oops, he accidently cremated them!
I think that means he burned the evidence! Smile
I do wonder if the lady in mid orgasm knew before her body donation that she would be depicted in this way? She seems quite a young specimen - not sure her mother would enjoy seeing her quite so " naked?"
As a general question or thought - (not specifically for you, Phil) -
Would ones opinions change if this was your body, or one of your nearest and dearset used as a voyeuristic tableaux?
Would the thirst for "knowledge" justify the indignity? (The school in question actually take the children on field trips to Auschewitz, to , as you say;
'feed' the natural thirst for knowledge and understanding of the human condition.)
Did the Nazi regime consider the dignity of the human body in their experimentations - or did they see those bodies as disposable items? (including book dust -covers)
If we continue to desensitize ourselves to the dignity of the human person it follows that we desensitize our children. That can only lead to a negative conclusion for them and future genrations I am sure.
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Last edited by Jeanette Lewis on Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Jeanette Lewis



Joined: 13 Oct 2009
Posts: 595
Location: Merseyside U.K.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vikki and Phil,
thanks for sharing your thoughts and time with me on this subject. I do appreciate it.
I didn't even get over the first hurdle with the head of art who insisted Gunther was an artist.(Ignorance is bliss!!) Even though I think he himself would insist he is an Anatomist! Rolling Eyes
If only she had got some youtubes on ecorches which actually go through the muscle groups and so on - I think that would have been more helpful for her students at this stage of their artistic development.
Well I shall leave this topic here; if my daughter wants to study art seriously , I don't expect she will be learning much about it at that school. Wink
Jeanette
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Jeanette Lewis



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 6:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A post script -
the headmasterof the school rang me this morning to say that he has taken Gunther out of the curriculum.
Jeanette
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Alison Belt



Joined: 19 Feb 2011
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Location: Baltimore, MD

PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't see the benefit of using these as a slideshow demonstration at all. It would be difficult to see anything useful and frankly, the one sexual pose I saw online would be so very easy to leave out. What's wrong with Vesalius or Richer? They would have more discernible muscles in a slideshow, I would think. I'm not interested in censorship either, but some things are more appropriate for 13 year-olds than others and a slideshow of purposely titillating anatomy poses is definitely less appropriate. I wouldn't object as strongly (if at all) to seeing the actual show since those pieces would be more in context. Von Hagens also seems like a rather creepy and underhanded guy in the way he's gone about procuring his subjects. I agree that using unwilling persons to do things like this is completely unethical. I'm glad that the headmaster saw fit to get rid of him.
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Jeanette Lewis



Joined: 13 Oct 2009
Posts: 595
Location: Merseyside U.K.

PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi ALison,
some great suggestions there for anatomy studies - thank you.
Much easier format for a student to study, and take their time over doing it than the shock factor aproach.
I just discovered that a Dr.Robert Glover also exhibits plasticised corpses and is currently doing so at a venue in my city centre.
I read he was interviewed by Opera winfrey - and he buys his bodies from the Chinese govt. these bodies have no relatives to claim them.
Aware of certain regimes in that country - this could include political prisoners - or just those with mental problems or are homeless either way, its not mentioned that they give their consent.
Having looked online at some of his work it reminded me of when you see an old lion at the museum that is in need of better taxidermy work... Hardly the classic maxim, if you need a standard to adhere to; artistically speaking.
Sure it will line his pockets, even though his poor subjects no longer have any!
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Stuart



Joined: 29 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

These sensationalist Von Hagen exhibitions have nothing to do with anatomy in the learning sense.
Hadn't heard of the copulating variety. Obviously not for such young children.
13 year olds might be a bit young for figure drawing classes (nude)?
I'm not a prude by any standards, and have run these classes for many years, but not happy with those who would experiment with our children.
Study of anatomy books and plaster casts might be sufficient. Only a few will find the study useful and wish to go further.
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Alison Belt



Joined: 19 Feb 2011
Posts: 201
Location: Baltimore, MD

PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you hit the nail on the head, Stuart. There are certainly some young people that would benefit from drawing from nude figures at a young age but they are very few and far between. Most 13 year olds are going to act juvenile about the whole thing, which is appropriate since they are in fact juveniles. Laughing
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Jeanette Lewis



Joined: 13 Oct 2009
Posts: 595
Location: Merseyside U.K.

PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 3:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi all,
At 13, my art teacher wanted to enter me for the 16 year old art exam -so I would have been one of those who would have benefitted from figure study work. I wasn't that bright at much else though - ( If you see my work now of course, It is pretty average.)

Anyways, My dad rightly disagreed to put me in the exam, he said, "In a couple of years the other kids will have caught up with you any way; and if you are meant to be an artist, that will come about." (Ooh I feel a verse from Doris Day singing "Kay Serah" coming on!) Smile
I sulked of course - being a juvenile Very Happy

It could be that our children are "more informed than we were" because we have allowed it? Its easier to say yes than play "bad cop" and say "No!!"

I upset the Head of the Art Department at my daughter's school - because I told her she was being irresponsible toward them and her lesson plan and research sucked. (She has 8 groups of 28 children in that year alone (224 kids.)
I was informed she is seven months pregnant, so I hope in the future she will be less inclinded to " experiment" on other peoples' children when it comes to education.
Thanks for the input everyone;.
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Last edited by Jeanette Lewis on Thu Dec 13, 2012 3:54 am; edited 1 time in total
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Stuart



Joined: 29 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 4:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They are likely to be more informed due to the technology they're exposed to, which means we've got to keep up with developments as much as possible in order for us to respond in a way that doesn't rupture relationships. Difficult! I am in constant discussion with my two 9 year olds who seemingly would happily spend the rest of their lives glued to Mom's I pad. After homework, they get a half hour each, then encouragement to do other stuff including Yes......reading a book, but I can see things snowballing ahead. Glad to see that the new 'tablets' for kids have parental controls both for content and how long the kid can spend on it.
I think you did well to shake up your daughters school art dept. Jeanette! If nothing else, you'll have given them something to think about. I'm not for censorship either Phil, but careful consideration based on common sense ought to be top of the list where our offspring are concerned and not 'fashion and cool' which will push themselves in all over the place anyway!
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