Nudity is so weirdly controversial and has been, to one degree or another, for centuries. It’s also been a big deal in art and expression for just as long, which is evident by most of the world’s most famous and priceless old statues freeballing for everyone to see. Actually, they’re doing more than freeballing — they’re fully naked. Their junk is out.
It’s one thing to take in these sights in museums and exhibits, but possibly another to display similar art in your own home. Is it gauche? Is it offensive? Is it just weird? Here’s what you need to know before mounting that Mapplethorpe print.
Naked art is actually pretty socially acceptable
A nude portrait is something you might see at even the most basic art gallery, so you shouldn’t worry that your interest in displaying a little naked art in your own home is pervy or weird — or even that other people will think it is. Even Instagram, notorious for its censorious attacks on backsides and female nipples, makes allowances in its otherwise-strict anti-nudity policy for art: “For a variety of reasons, we don’t allow nudity on Instagram. This includes photos, videos, and some digitally-created content that show sexual intercourse, genitals, and close-ups of fully-nude buttocks. It also includes some photos of female nipples, but photos of post-mastectomy scarring and women actively breastfeeding are allowed. Nudity in photos of paintings and sculptures is OK, too.”
That even the most puritanical and buttoned-up of social media sites greenlights the presentation of naked art should give you a sense of how acceptable such paintings and sculptures are, broadly. They’re not inherently offensive for the most part, but you do need to use your judgment regarding your own art pieces. There’s a difference, if only subtextually and culturally, between The Birth of Venus and an old full-frontal Playboy poster. You’re definitely allowed to have either one of those displayed in your own private residence, but they convey different things.
How to Make it Tasteful
According to Art Provocateur, decorating with nude art isn’t that much different than decorating with any other kind of painting, sculpture, or work: “The goal and focus are to place pieces in an order of structure and colour that is pleasing and inviting. When choosing to decorate with nude art pieces, one must keep in mind the colour and tone they are seeking for their environment.”
What does this mean for you? Simply, no nudity for nudity’s sake. Some boobage might get a rise out of guests who first enter your home, but you shouldn’t be decorating entirely for shock value. Rather, if you have a piece that you really like, try to work other elements of the room into the colour scheme or vibe. Conversely, if your room is all decorated and painted but you want to add some nakedness, seek out work that goes with your existing flow. Slapping a statue in its birthday suit onto your coffee table won’t accomplish much unless it looks good with the room as a whole.
When to Hide the Goods
Consider your audience before someone comes over. If your conservative aunt is on the way or you’re hosting one of your kid’s friends’ parents for a first-time playdate, use your best judgment about whether they want to see any granite dongs or whether such art sends the message you’re interested in sending. In some instances, it might not hurt to stash it away.
In other instances, though, you actually should stash it, no matter what. Per Apartment Therapy, you should hide anything that could possibly be offensive when you’re trying to sell your home. Your busty bust might be rare, expensive, and high-class, but if it scares off someone who was about to drop a ton of cash on your house, it won’t be worth it. Whether they get your artistic choices or not is irrelevant when you’re trying to convince them to buy your home.
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