Mt. Vernon Register-News

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June 7, 2013

Talk will address nudity in artwork

MT. VERNON – A special presentation June 14 at the Mitchell Museum will take aim at the often controversial subject of nudity in artwork.

But organizers have a higher purpose in mind than mere provocation. The goal is to broaden people's horizons and help them understand why art has depicted nudity throughout history.

“We want to engage the audience and hopefully break down some of those stereotypes that are often associated with nudity in artwork,” said Hillary Settle, director of development at the Cedarhurst Center for the Arts.

The Happening program at Cedarhurst is presenting the event, which is called “Uncorked & Undressed.” It will be held at 7:30 p.m. June 14 at the museum's Performance Hall, and is open to adults ages 18 and older.

The highlight of the gathering will be a 20-minute powerpoint presentation delivered by Carrie Gibbs, director of the Shrode Art Center. There will also be wine tasting stations, free food pairings, live music and a cash bar. The cost to attend is $2 for members and $6 for non-members.

Gibbs said her talk will examine the role nudity has played in paintings and sculptures since the beginning of recorded history. Nudity was especially prevalent in ancient Greek and Roman art, as well as in pieces created during the Renaissance.

“They would celebrate the natural beauty of the body,” Gibbs said of the Greeks and Romans. “Artists were inspired and were trying to achieve a physical perfection, a God likeness or perfect form of beauty in its natural state.”

This is the first time Cedarhurst has held an event of this sort. The center's wine tasting two years ago was a great success so organizers wanted to hold another one, but combine the tasting with an intellectual discussion.

Gibbs chose to tackle the topic of nudity because the subject comes up periodically during tours of Cedarhurst. Some of the center's classical artwork features nudity, which has prompted questions from visitors.

“We always want to talk about that and put that kind of artwork in context,” Gibbs said. “It'll be a fun, light-hearted talk.”

Gibbs hopes people who attend will come away with a better appreciation of how art reflects the time period in which it was made.

The Happening regularly holds events geared toward a younger audience. For more information, call 242-1236, ext. 228 or 249.

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