Teen’s nude loses art award to hypocrisy

The best image available of Nancy Beth Reids Controversial Work
The best image currently available of Nancy “Beth” Reid’s Controversial Work

Beth said she loves art history and appreciates the nudes she has seen in classical art. “It’s not perverted at all. Now, it’s almost like if you see a naked person it’s pornographic, and that’s not true.”

Student Gallery is a 36-year-old art contest open to any high school junior or senior in the region. This year, the show was judged three times.

The top winners chosen by the first two jurors were rejected because their work depicted nudity. Bruce Bradley, publisher of The Virginian-Pilot, on Friday took responsibility for the decision.

“While it’s true we don’t specifically address this in the rules and regulations, the concern I had was to have a 17-year-old girl do a self-portrait of herself in the nude,” Bradley said. “I thought that was inappropriate for the contest.

“This is why we did not name it the first-place winner.”

[From Art lovers raise money for teen who lost Student Gallery title | HamptonRoads.com | PilotOnline.com]

Three separate judges were brought in to choose a winner before the Pilot would finally accept one that was not nude in any way. The First judge selected Nancy ‘Beth’ Reid’s work as “head and shoulders above the rest”. this decision was overturned and another judge was accepted, this time choosing a nude sculpture by Jasmine Childs. There is little information on why this work was deemed also unacceptable, certainly pictures have been published of it, unlike the painting by Reid. This decision was also overturned. In the end the Pilot chose two of it’s own employees to judge the winner. it was awarded to Erin Ayres’ sculpture “Unveiled Tokens of Lonely and Deserted Past.”

“We honestly don’t believe those two pieces are appropriate to be held up as the winners of a high school art show, because they do depict the nude,” Pam Smith-Rodden, director of marketing for The Pilot, said at the time. The marketing department runs the Student Gallery. Two Pilot employees, one from the marketing department and one from advertising, were selected to conduct a third judging, from which a winner was chosen and announced Tuesday.

[From Virginia newspaper takes courageous stand against art, freedom of speech « ]

Reid’s description is perfectly appropriate and her concept is sound, as is Childs’. They both clearly thought about their works and produced them in a professional manner. Reid’s work is very discreet, There are almost no images of it but to me the pose is interesting and there is certainly nothing objectionable showing (no more than hipster pants reveal on a daily basis anyway) It is ridiculous that the competition was changed based on the entrants and laughable that judges were hired only to have their decisions overthrown. I can see where the paper might not want to publish an image of the piece for legal reasons. but to pull an award from teenagers who deserved it and then to keep the pieces in the show is a disgrace and complete hypocrisy.

I am heartened that the community has rallied to the side of Reid, raising money from the community to replace the winnings she certainly would have earned. it is a shame that she will not be able to claim the award on her applications to college, however the publicity surrounding this furor will help in place. I was especially thrilled to read this and agree whole heartedly.

She said she’s disappointed she won’t have the bragging rights that come with winning the Student Gallery, but assures 13News this will not be the last nude she paints.

Beth Reid says she thought she was being discreet with this painting.
“I’m almost glad this has happened, because, maybe this revolution is needed about nudity,” she said.

[From Newspaper vetoes judge’s ruling that nude painting should win contest | TOP STORIES |
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