Some of today's artists like to use nude models in their works. Take Spencer Tunick, who seems not to use anything else! But they don't want this to be seen as anything smutty or degrading. They are always at pains to deny that they're using it in a voyeuristic, exploitative way to draw an audience. And art lovers aren't like that anyway, are they? They are always driven by higher impulses such as a desire to be confronted somehow, or a willingness to perceive something differently.
Sadly, the audience itself often doesn't go along with these lofty goals. Take this story about an exhibit at New York's Museum of Modern Art called "The Artist is Present".
The live nude models in it have proved to be very popular indeed. And while most of those viewing them have politely kept their distance, some have not - insisting on pinching and fondling the models.
It's ironic that pornographers are so often accused of sexual exploitation, while artists and curators almost never are. But I'd say these models are suffering more, since this kind of physical treatment (which is basically quite serious sexual harassment) was never part of the deal.
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