Campus Free Speech

That Time Your Visual Arts Professor Disrobed and Asked You to Peform a "Nude Gesture"

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Via reader JC comes word of a University of California-San Diego visual arts prof who really wants his students to let it all hang out.

From the Guardian:

Ricardo Dominguez, who teaches a visual arts class at the University of California at San Diego, required the students to be naked for the final part of the course.

The professor also disrobed for the exam, which involved students participating in a "series of gestures", according to the local Fox 13 television channel.

The unconventional assessment came to light after the mother of one of the students complained about the nakedness.

Rest easy, though. The prof means nakedness in a metaphorical sense (though he seemed to be pretty literal in his own case).

Rodriguez said he had never received a complaint during his time teaching the class. He said the class took place in a darkened room, lit by candlelight.

"At the very end of the class, we've done several gestures, they have to [do a] nude gesture. The prompt is to speak about or do a gesture or create an installation that says: 'What is more you than you are,'" Dominguez said.

"If they are uncomfortable with this gesture they should not take the class," he added.

The department chair put it this way:

"There are many ways to perform nudity or nakedness – summoning art history conventions of the nude or laying bare of one's 'traumatic' or most fragile and vulnerable self. One can 'be' nude while being covered."

Sure, why not.

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  1. “If they are uncomfortable with this gesture they should not take the class,” he added.

    Based on the quotes by the chair and prof, I’d say they shouldn’t take the class because they won’t learn anything useful.

    1. You’re thinking about this the wrong way. This sounds like the best “fuck you” to “triggering” I’ve ever heard.

      1. I agree. Pity its over such a trivial subject.

      2. I’m glad you said it, because I was entering this thread for the singular purpose of saying that.

      3. No, this would be an obvious exception since it is “art”.

        You still can’t mention Milton Friedman’s name – that
        would be triggering on so many levels.

        1. Can you mention his name if you are naked?

          1. Only if it’s art.

  2. the mother of one of the students complained about the nakedness.

    If my daughter was taking the class with Steve Smith, I’d complain.

    1. The craziness of this whole thing aside, why the fuck is a mother complaining here?

      1. That’s pretty much the only problem in this story.

      2. I had a mother complain that their daughter didn’t get hired for a job.

      3. Because little Sally totally never would have agreed to be in a class with some nudity and also probably spends every Saturday doing homework while saying her catechisms and certainly doesn’t go out with boys.

  3. The last thing any of them saw was Warty’s nude gesture.

    1. Sadly, that is the last thing a lot of people all over the world have seen. Horrible thing to take to an early grave.

  4. I knew quite a few in the art department when I was in school. As a STEM guy I found them to be weird, completely full of shit, but fun to hang around with. I don’t find this to be all that surprising.

    1. Yeah. My basic reaction was “Anyone who takes a course in ‘visual arts’ deserves any hippy dippy, new age claptrap they may be exposed to.”

  5. Oh my God Kathleen Parker is fucking useless.

    I mean, I knew that already, I just think it desperately needs to be pointed out. Isn’t this woman supposed to be a conservative? She’s like the Platonic ideal of a RINO.

    It is more or less consistently true that First Amendment warriors are forced to defend not only undesirable sorts but also really bad art. When a Danish cartoonist was forced into hiding following an earlier Muhammad cartoon challenge, I raced to the front lines in his defense. But I was painfully aware that most of the cartoons were amateurish and witless.

    Pish posh, I’m just a bit more highbrow than you barbarous Danes!

    But Geller is a media creature and knows how to bait a media field as well. Make noise and the media will come. Draw a crowd and the cameras will roll. Become the “victim” of death threats ? in essence, a fatwa ? and, voil?, you’re on TV. (The MGM lion better watch his back.)

    She was actually shot at and Kathleen Parker feels the need to put ‘victim’ in scare quotes.

    1. T Coddington Van Vorhees IV agrees with Parker.

    2. Haven’t bothered to read KP in years.

      She always struck me as an elitist.

    3. Pedant man checking in:
      “Pish posh”
      psst; it’s “pish tosh”
      And then I check and find it is either! Dog my cats!

    4. So instead of starting with a to-be-sure sentence saying she disagrees with Geller, then taking up the rest of the column denouncing the would-be assassins, Parker does the reverse: A few to-be-sure sentences about how Geller has freedom of speech (just like the Klan!), but devoting most of the column to denouncing Geller.

    5. Geller is a media creature

      Ooh, catty! And a bit of an unself-aware charge, coming from a columnist.

  6. Government Choo Choo goes off the rails….

    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/s…..2-21-52-06

    1. They’ll be safer at 200MPH!

    2. They’re already blaming Republicans for this.

  7. “[…]One can ‘be’ nude while being covered.””

    “Up” can be “Down” to proggies, but that don’t count.
    BTW, check the home page title ‘peform’ isn’t what you want.

    1. I’m naked under my clothes. But then again I was always a radical.

  8. These are grown adults. If he made it clear what the class entailed and they agreed to take it, then there is no reason whatsoever for anyone to be upset with him, particularly given that the girl didn’t even lodge the complaint, the mom did after she found out about it.

    If people know the class will involve nudity, then as grown adults there is nothing wrong with such a class existing. Unless we think 20 year olds should ask mommy’s permission every time they’re about to get naked, which could make collegiate one night stands a bit awkward.

    1. Unless we think 20 year olds should ask mommy’s permission every time they’re about to get naked, which could make collegiate one night stands a bit awkward.

      As the father of a daughter, I say this is a brilliant idea!

      1. It would certain cut down on campus rape.
        Let’s go back to the old definition of rape, which means “having sex without the girl’s father’s permission”.

    2. “Unless we think 20 year olds should ask mommy’s permission every time they’re about to get naked, which could make collegiate one night stands a bit awkward.”

      If mommy is paying for the nudie class, I can see it being a legitimate complaint. However, the complaint should be with her daughter for wasting the money, not the school, especially if there was advance warning about what the class entails.

  9. “do a gesture … that says: ‘What is more you than you are.'”

    Got your gesture right here.

  10. It seems as if Herr Professor is a professional troll. He conducts DDoS attacks on websites he doesn’t like and calls it performance art.

    On March 4, Dominguez dusted off his virtual swarming software to protest college fee increases. This time, there was no ovation. Administration officials shut down his computer server in the middle of finals week. A few days later, campus police showed up at his office.

    According to Dominguez and a faculty group, the university has launched at least two probes: One to determine whether creation of the phone was a proper use of public funds, the other to see if legal grounds exist for filing criminal charges for the virtual sit-in.

    The charges, they said, could lead to disciplinary measures and the revocation of Dominguez’s tenure. Dominguez’s salary was $65,000 before furloughs.

    “We’d be better off taking his salary and hiring more math teachers…let’s get back to basics,” said Peter Nu?ez, a former U.S. attorney from San Diego. UC San Diego President Marye Anne Fox has been asked to provide a financial accounting of the immigrant phone project in a letter signed by Reps. Duncan Hunter, Brian Bilbray and Darrell Issa.

    1. Want to learn about “Trans( )infinities,” his latest course offering? It “will be imagined as an (empty set) of potential aesthetic practices that move between, through, across and beyond the post of the post-contemporary by transfixing on the loanwords,” reads the course description.

      No.

      1. Sokal agrees.

        1. That unethical bastard!

        2. Here’s a lecture he gave at the Center for Design and Geopolitics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCsPg_IcyH8

          Sokal’s “Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity” is well-reasoned and coherent by comparison.

          1. “Sokal’s “Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity” is well-reasoned and coherent by comparison.”

            Reason enough for me to avoid clicking on that link.

          2. Isn’t that the fake paper someone got accepted to a sociology journal?

      2. I thought it was nonsense until I re-read it.

        But see it is “beyond the POST of the post-contemporary”

        Get it? That is some deep shit there. I think I will go
        smoke a doobie and contemplate that all afternoon.
        (the morning will be shot).

    2. I’m really starting to like this guy now.

  11. So, mattress guy with a computer?

  12. Repeat:
    “That Time Your Visual Arts Professor Disrobed and Asked You to Peform a “Nude Gesture””

    Nick,
    See that “Peform” in there? It isn’t a word; unlike other screw-ups, you can’t blame your spell-checker.

    1. Hey, don’t try any of your preversions in there!

      1. Well, I prever on a regular basis, but only in pirvate!

  13. ‘You must be naked in order to pass my class’

    ‘It’s still physically possible for you to pass my class’

  14. Has there ever been a controversy like this at a *community* college or the Continuing Education department?

  15. Is this it? Is this the end?

  16. So , it’s bad when professors teach Ovid, because that’s rape-triggering, but nudity is fine?

    Personally, I think both of these things should be allowed.
    It’s a fucking art class. People pose nude in art class. It’s traditional.

    I do hope that anyone who is triggered by nudity avoids taking this class. So all the fun people without hangups can get on with it.

  17. I’m always naked under my clothes.

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