The interesting thing about such a grand museum for contemporary art is that there will be no nudes or works that are confrontational in any way, which includes works of a religious nature. I don’t think it’s a major issue, just different to museums in other countries.
Usually I agree with Dion’s views at Art News Blog but this is a bit more personal as it were, a subject close to my heart. I have already posted my views in the comments field but I would like to explore the nature of confronting artworks a little further.
I respect the rights of people with religious aversions to nudes or religious artworks. My concern is that there is no option for these works to be shown. a separate space perhaps or section for example. People need to have their perceptions and opinions challenged. They need to have the courage of their convictions to see such pieces and feel confident in their faith. A fear that seeing a nude figure might corrupt their faith probably means it is not strong enough to begin with.
There is nothing wrong with the human body. Many religions believe that the body is a holy object unto itself, created in a god’s* image. Is it then a shameful object? something to avoid?
I think that by excluding nudes and other confronting imagery, the new Guggenheim is limiting the potential creative expansion of it’s viewers. Confrontation can be uncomfortable but also beneficial. freedom of expression allows the public to decide what it wants to see, not forcing them. limiting that ability can lead to stagnation of ideas and lack of creativity. Art can expand people’s minds, limiting what they can see could only lead to closing perceptions and inhibiting creative thinking and growth.
*I won’t specify any particular god here, this is not about the nature or existence of deities but about he human body and a classic precept of many faiths.