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Good Nudes vs. Bad Nudes?

Tue Nov 1, 2011, 2:57 PM by techgnotic:icontechgnotic:
''Athena's on the Qui Vive'' by erwintirta

The argument for the nude in art:

Our visual perception of the human face and then the human body has set the basis since the beginning of human history for our sense of what is beautiful and what initiates all our seminal ineffable sublime feelings about the nature of love, life, desire, destiny, eternity, ad infinitum.

The curvatures and symmetries of the human body even lay the geometric basis for the artistic structures of all our art forms, not only for the visual arts but also for literature and architecture.

Given the primacy of the body as the beginning of all that we are in life, and given the eye as the primary receiver for the collection of all information in our lives, how could the artistic nude not be a massively represented art form on a global arts forum like DeviantArt?

And besides, nudes are something people enjoy looking at—and art needs no other justification than being something that brings some small amount of pleasure into our lives.

The Kock In

You mean men enjoy looking at nudes.

You mean men enjoy looking at nudes. And women not nearly so much—because they have to endure the daily indignities of being treated like mindless “objects” by clueless men. Nude art in any media will always teeter precariously on a very fine edge separating the “empowering” from the “demeaning.” It’s all in the context. Helmut Newton famously photographed a model on a bed wearing a saddle. Is this erotic fine art or just high-gloss perversion? Is it the artist’s intent to audaciously exercise his adoration of the nude form or to merely indulge misogynistic darknesses? And you, viewing Newton’s photograph, will have to make your own decision as to the worth of the piece, based in the unique context of everything you’ve experienced in your life.

We don’t really know the artist’s intent—and we’re left with our own reaction to the artwork for judging its artistic worth and merit. That’s the problem.

It’s so intimately

One person’s erotic art is another person’s worthless sensationalism.

There can be no ultimate judge or definer – and thankfully the majority of people in the world have recognized this fact of life and are against most censorships. This leaves us with the vexing debate as to how much nudes is too much nudes on DeviantArt.

The only thought I can offer is that, because men (and women) photographing, painting and sculpting nudes is not going away. We know better than to try to censor art or empower bureaucratic “judges” to set limits, it is imperative that we keep the current conversation going about what is good and beautiful and what is bad and dangerous about our ubiquitous nudes situation.

If only we can remain ever mindful and considerate of—and always remain in dialogue about—the good and bad possible side effects of the nude art we enjoy, then maybe we can have our erotica and our feminism, too.

Kind of like enjoying alcohol, but knowing to never drive drunk. Art is never entirely stand alone. The context is always present, transformative, and as important to the experience of art as the art object itself.

For The Reader

  1. Do you think there is too much nude subject matter on deviantART or is it a non-issue for you?  How much do you think your gender or sexual preferences might influence your answer?
  2. When is censorship of art permissible?   Where would you draw the line?  What rational rule could you offer as a practical guideline?
  3. Have you ever had a work of art you created censored or banned in any way?
  4. If an artist really believes in what he or she has created, how should the artist respond to censorship of that art?  Have you been made aware of an instance of “art suppression” via the Internet?
  5. Would you ever suggest to another artist that he or she should tone a work of art down or agree to the censorship of an art object in a specific situation?

Add a Comment:
ShadowDoctrine Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2018  Hobbyist Photographer
Bad vs Good are two sides of a coin. Judgement is by personal taste. I do enjoyed nudes of mostly females and some males. Art has no boundaries and ugly in this world can be good art. Art touching darkness fears and greatest hopes our hearts or minds therefore what's bad or good?
L3M35 Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Not an issue. I enjoy a lot profiles of "nude art". And yes, my sexual preferences influences on what I see. What's so bad, to deny it with some random yadayada like "noh it's pure art"? No, it's not pure art: I ENJOY to see beatiful women, and rarely appreciate male nude art (some are great, like "The World in my Mind" shown here). And if the model is gourgeous, and art is great, way better!

Anyway, I don't think it's so hard to define what is art or not. A random naked selfie in front of your mirror it NOT art, it's a show. A selfie well done, with some aesthetic, IS art. What I ask myself is how some models earn something modeling here. For example: I really like a specific model (of course will not say names), she is a stunning woman and some of her pictures are pure art. But others are breasts in the bathroom, with horrible resolution. And she doesn't say the name of her photographers. So what's the point publishing here other than showing herself (what for me, it's fine)?
karllouis Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2016  Professional Photographer
HANDS ... goes to…
which is not the same pic.
Could you find out why?


KodokuSP Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This can be settled easily: Lots of people uses the nudes as an easy way to make an impact on people. They justify it by saying: "It's art, so I do whatever I want and you're wrong if you think otherwise". Of course, art should NEVER be censored. but here we reach to an impasse: What IS art and what is NOT? If there's a beatifully made piece of art that promotes racism, is it art? most of people would say "no". and would, obviously, CENSOR it. But wait, so you can censor art that may be offensive for a particular group of people? Oh, but nudity surely IS offensive for a certain group of people. But nudity can't be censored or judged. But why? Well, getting back to what I said, because people uses "art" as a justification to do whatever they like. This will change over time. Now nudity is accepted in art, but tomorrow, who knows?
But no matter the case, if you cannot think a way to express an idea and you go to the short way and just use an image that shocks people (like nudity) just because it's effective, then you just don't deserve being called an "artist", you're just a slacker.
Erzsabet Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2016  Professional Artisan Crafter
I think that art that is offensive to a certain group of people should be censored sometimes, if it is based off hate. I view nudity differently, because it is the natural state of our bodies. I think we have grown to have a warped sense of the human body, especially in North America, due to age old puritanical laws.

Or, at least if it is art meant to show off hate, like racism, sexism, etc, it should only be viewed under certain contexts, and by certain people who know what they are seeing going into it. It has its merits, and should be judged for what it is, even if it is beautiful art. It is still beautiful art that carries a message of hate.

Nudity has always been accepted in art, moreso before than it is now, in fact. Look at Renaissance paintings. They had no problem with the naked human form. But in the last few hundred years we have been conditioned to think of the naked body as impure, and not to be viewed in public. And I think we are finally getting back into changing how we view nudity, back to a more practical, logical way, which is that the human body is a beautiful, natural thing.

Now that's not saying that we should be displaying sexual art everywhere, that too, has a place, and it isn't necessarily in public. Sex should, in my opinion, be a private thing. Now whether that means completely private, or just having a limited audience who is mature enough to appreciate the context, that's a different matter, and depends on the context of the art.

Shock art isn't really a negative thing. Sometimes it's necessary to get the point across, because people are so used to seeing things over and over, that it is sometimes needed to really take people, shake them up, and say "THINK!" I think that there is still a difference between shock art and just gratuitous nudity though, and they both serve different purposes, and different audiences, though they often get used incorrectly. Used properly, they can both have astounding effects, but incorrectly, it is just poor taste.
art can not be defined and the nude body is a natural part of life and art imitates life?
Grim-Red Featured By Owner Edited May 19, 2015   Digital Artist
<< When is censorship of art permissible? >>
When it falls under mere pornography and when it breaks the law.

Freedom doesn't mean doing whatever we please no matter what.

Btw i don't see picture of "bad nudes" here.
ViciadoEmGuarana Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
"When is censorship of art permissible?"

At no time.
In nowhere.

And definitely not on Deviantart.
TrappedGirl Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2015
Deviant Art was blocked from my school and local library for being a "porn" site. I don't see why an art site would be restricted to either, when I could even access social networking and youtube back then.

Or maybe there was actual pornography passing through DA's radars.

So unless the school mods suspected an actual threat, my only suspicion are the nudes (even underwear photos) that were/are overly sexual and suggestive. Maybe.

If a nude isn't sexual whatsoever, I don't think it needs censorship.

Henriggle Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2015
Personally, I'm not into super explicit nudes.  They're just too much for me.  I'm fine with nudes to an extent, and in fact, I like some of them quite a bit, but ones that show intercourse and stuff like that are too graphic to be to my liking.  To me, an image doesn't have to be that graphic to be sensually pleasing.  It's fine that some people like nudes to be really explicit, but it's definitely not what I personally enjoy.  
hlsaxon Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2015
There's nothing wrong with peer review.  I'm not talking about the comments area currently available but a section that accompanies each submission with easy-to-use check boxes eg:   Does the workmanship of the submission meet your criteria of finished art?  Do you find the thought behind the submission accessible to you? Does this submission meet your personal criteria as art or should it be displayed in a separate category that recognizes the work as something else?   Rate the overall quality of this work.

Other questions could be composed but keeping the questions few and simple would probably encourage 'judges' to participate.
Scores might give search criteria for those who would like to see well done nudes without wading through masturbation sketches to get to them. 

If this caught on I could see it becoming a reference for professionals to use for pricing their work
don22754 Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2014
Must look at that Firefox extension. Would eliminate the vitriolic comments. They are wounding to the photographers-they expose themselves by dubmitting their conceptions of art here.And work very hard. The models sign releases, but they don't sign for abuse.
Elizabeth425 Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
I find it intriguing how many of these comments classify good nudes as "tasteful and artistic" and bad nudes as "poorly planned and without artistic merit".

Although I agree with these people, we can't judge nudes based on their creator's artistic talent.

I've seen (and yes, created) plenty of awful , emotionless and meaningless "art" that is perfectly acceptable simply because the subject is non-offensive.

Perhaps we need a way to differentiate between bad art and bad nudes.
Yokaimoon666 Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2014
Nudity is not an issue for me. I enjoy seeing it being expressed on artistic manner however, and not the crappy cam-whore nudes I see...with mature filter on (might want to start enforcing that rule).

I would like to address the following though: should artist be told to tone it down or be censored?

I believe censorship in any form is wrong UNLESS the subject in question is doing or will do harm, in which case it is justifiably protecting the majority and not person(s) of interest.

People hide behind artistic freedom to get their way and don't think about what happens afterwards. If my friend started walking around naked in my house because he was 'expressing himself', I would kick him out because, he may have this freedom to do this, but he has to deal with the consequences of his actions. He walks around nude, he gets kicked out, now he can go home and be naked there.

Point is: no one can tell you what to draw/take pictures of/think/act, but when you're pictures get taken down and you get banned don't be a little emo bitch about it and complain. Don't turn on the art site because you failed to abide by their TOS which you AGREED to when joining. Don't use 'obstructing creativity, freedom of whatever' when you're breaking rules you agreed to, to use this site.

TL;DR? Keep doing what you're doing you attention seeking piles of crap. I hope you can deal with what comes afterwards.

As a side note: dA, why don't you open up a sister site where people can post all their crappy nude pics and leave people who want to appreciate art here? I have a great name and slogan to suggest: dAporn. Tired of feeling like your nude pictures are underrated? Want people to see you and your natural beauty through a .5 pixel lens? Come to dAporn where your body will be appreciated by thousands of strangers!

Cause....that seems to be a viable solution. Your name would be all over that but hey, your standards already sunk low, why not milk it for a while? (insert sarcasm everywhere)
Theneoseraph Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2014
Just my two cents. I don't so much mind the artist nude portion, but the extreme fetish porn that is on this site is a little much at times. Naked lady/guy OK. Close up of naked ladies vagina with really no thought put into it just BAM look at my vagina! Not so much. Also the amount of (and I know I will get shit for this) of furry/inflation/fat/vore/scat/fart/etc "art" *cough porn* is a little overwhelming. I know that everyone says use the mature filter, but seriously, that's not the issue for those of us that want art. It is the extreme stuff that we don't want to see. I don't mind an artistic nude, I don't want to see Disneys Kim Possible with her head shaved getting and enema (yes it is on here). On the same note I don't want to take away from peoples ability to post weird stuff like that. Maybe a third filter labeled deviant?
"Maybe a third filter labeled deviant?"

Or just "porn." The meaning is conveyed, without the company seeming to pass judgment.

Not that I'm saying that I love porn, or that you should, but if DA can avoid drama with a simple choice of words, without giving up anything important in the process, why not? Agreed?
city-of-chicago Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2014
Let's point out the proverbial 800 pound gorilla in the room. Yes, I'm going to bring up a practical, real world issue. Yes, I know, as we saw below, Matthew Lane doesn't believe that we should be living in the real world, but some of us have insisted on taking up residence there.

Presumably, most of you would like to have your work be seen. Otherwise, why are you posting it? If viewing porn and viewing artistic figure studies goes on being the package deal it has been on DeviantArt, then viewers are going to go on doing as I and others have done, and opt out on viewing mature images on this site, at all. If you've been producing non-pornographic figure studies, you would do well to think about the consequences of that. The people who are here to see porn aren't here to see your image of a woman walking through a field of flowers. They're here to see the image of somebody violating herself with a broken flower bottle. Or something like that. Lose the part of the audience that is open to viewing tastefully done artistic figure studies (but isn't interested in porn), and bit by bit, you can say goodbye to your traffic and your sales.

Are you willing to do that, just to go along with a little hipster posturing? If so, your loss. Seriously. It's a big Web out there, a lot bigger than DeviantArt. The viewer who finds that DeviantArt (and its community) are determined to be stupid and stubborn on this point can easily find what he's looking for, elsewhere, without any need to change the nature of what he is looking at by choice or to accept any diminishment in quality. He can just go over to Flickr, and set his account to allow viewing of moderate (but not restricted) material, and he'll almost certainly enjoy something akin to the choice Lane made so much drama over. In fact, even if he sets his account to allow restricted material, he'll probably not have to deal with the gynecologist and proctologist shots for which DA is becoming known.

Your choice, and your company's and your community's funeral if you insist on making it foolishly. Which, by the way, I'm absolutely in favor of you all doing, if that's what you want to do. When the choices people make are truly informed ones, and they are undone by their own vices, I don't tend to find that tragic, at all. I usually find that hilarious. So go for it, kids!
taiji-tu Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
The "DA Ghost" extension for FireFox has been specifically written for DeviantArt to block artists whose work you don't like.

Currently I have almost 500 "artists" blacklisted; mostly for posting low-quality, cheap porn.
city-of-chicago Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2014
Tsk, tsk ... this has all been discussed below, and Matthew Lane has spoken! There is no such thing as porn. Or, probably, quality either, because there is no objective way of defining or measuring that, and if there isn't an algorithm for finding something, it really isn't there. Matt wouldn't lie to us about that.

Pain-Damos Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
It is a non-issue for me. I don't really think my gender or sexual preferences influence my answer, because I couldn't care less. An artist needs to, how some would say, "breathe a little." An artist has a right to share what they want to share, regardless of what it is. Censorship should only be permitted based on the model, and the artist. I MIGHT go as far as censoring something that causes harm to the viewers, but frankly, it's the viewers fault for looking, in my opinion. Me, being an aspiring author, I try to put censors in some of my posts that some might find offensive. (I post everything a chapter at a time.) So, yeah, I made posts that were censored. No, I haven't had that situation. The only way I might say that they should tone the work down is if I thought it might be offensive to a model for the artwork, or if it puts her in a situation that degrades him/her, or if it ruins the model's reputation, etc.
FinalFatalFail Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2014  Student Artist
1: It is a non-issue for me. 
    I don't think my gender or sexual preferences influence my answer,
    I just feel like people have the right to share what they want to share unless
    it causes real harm to the viewers. And I don't think artistic nude does 
    not harm the viewer.
2: Censorship of art is permissible when the art hurts the model in the art or hurts their reputation against their will
    I personally would set the guideline to no harm to model.
3: No, never happened.
4: The artist should look at things professionally instead of sentimentally.
5: Well,  I think I would if I were to find the art in particular offensive or if I
    know it's offensive to the model.
2xHelix Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2014
There is too much saucy art being featured in the What's Hot section. Honestly though, that's the user base's fault, as guys tend to have a hard time not clicking on something that looks attractive.
matthew-lane Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I like how you think that's a fault rather than a feature.
2xHelix Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2014
I like to keep my erotica out of my general browsing, so seeing it anywhere were it's not the main feature is a little annoying, especially if there happen to be other people around.
matthew-lane Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
That's what the adult content feature is for.
2xHelix Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2014
The what?
matthew-lane Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
The dA button that allows you to filter out any content with a mature content filter on dA.

If you click this link… it'll take you to your accounts browsing options. The first tick box down is SHOW deviations with mature content. If you untick that box, you'll lost about 98% of nude content.
Ziggyman Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2014  Professional General Artist
1. I don't think than the nudes is an issue. Maybe my sexual orientatil influences my perspective, I susually see more naked women than naked men. Maybe I need to see more naked men.
2. Where to  draw the line? In the genitalia?
3. No. My own selfcensorship is enough. 
4. I think the best censorship is simply don't look wht you don't like. Every artist have his/her/their right to makes his discourse. If you don't like, don't look at him or better, make your own discourse, to refute it. But censorship is the same than put a gag in the mouth of somebody. Not that kind of gag.
5. No, but I would ask him why he did that work and what were his/her/hes/hir feelings. 
Minyassa Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
1. Nudity is a non-issue for me. Humans are animals, and as such, photographing them without clothing on to obscure the form is the same as photographing any other animal. It is possible that my sexual preferences come into this as I do not automatically equate nude with sexualized.

2. I don't think censorship of art is acceptable under any circumstances. I do think that taking measures to avoid barraging people with images that are a waste of their personal time is needful, such as categorization in browsing, but as art is so objective, it is ridiculous to censor it as there is no way to do so that makes sense or is not excluding someone. Rather we should educate art viewers on how to move on from pieces that they do not like, and remind people that creating art is not an interactive activity unless the artist invites such and that viewers do not have the right to demand to alter an existing piece of art any more than they have the right to redesign another person's face. If they don't like it there are other pieces of art they might enjoy better, but to be frustrated because a specific piece does not meet one's own specifications is absurd.

3. I have never had a piece of my art censored, probably because I am wise to the rules of the venue and it would be a big waste of time to upload something that would be taken down. It isn't rocket science, the rules are clearly posted. Whether I think they are right or not has no bearing on the situation as it exists in reality.

4. If the artist really believes in the piece they have created then they should respect it by displaying it in an appropriate venue that will allow it and has not stated that there are any rules against it. Again, it's not rocket science to read the TOS. As someone who has seen such a variety of different sorts of imagery on the internet that I am rarely shocked anymore, I do not think there is a suppression of art. There's always somewhere to display something, it simply might take a bit of research to find the appropriate place for it.

5. I would never ask another artist to do a thing with their own piece of art. It's theirs. To ask someone to alter their artwork is one of the most presumptuous and haughty things I can imagine doing to another person. If they are desperate to display something in a venue that has stated that such things are not welcome, they are being unreasonable and I cannot advise them. I really can't imagine why a venue that would call for censorship deserves a certain piece of artwork to be present on a basis of compromise.
Lapinosor Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2014
Totally agree. May I translate it in french for my groupe of photographers ? I put a link to this page.
afishanado Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2014
Answer 1. Non issue, gender or sexual preferences a non influence. If you truly call it art it is non-censorable.
2. Is all, any art rational? Can a moral/amoral object be subject to litigation?  
3. None, non-representational
4. Critique is good, censorship not. Critique shall prevail in the internet/digital world. If enough people are dissatisfied it could be unacceptable as art. not censored. If not acceptable/dissatisfied the work will disappear. Art suppression via the internet? What the hell is that?
5. Nope, artists give their all, "Toning it down" has no meaning in art expression. Clarity via an editorial sense is left to the artist. 
matthew-lane Featured By Owner Edited Nov 21, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
"Art suppression via the internet? What the hell is that?"

Its what feminist do when they get together & declare some piece of artwork sexist before trying to ban people from seeing it.... Or what the right wing super-prudes do when they hear a school trip is going to go see Michelangelo's David.

Pretty standard Moral panic stuff really.
moonarcher2 Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2014
whoa how brave you are!!! excellent dialogue. and i think very well articulated.  please keep in mind these are my opinions. and this is how i perceive things. and thats what makes me, Me!! Censor young people from having access . censorship should only be used to protect young people
i tend to see it this way  as we grow into adults  even at 15 or 16 we all begin to experiance our coming out into our sexuality and the curiosity of who we are, some sooner some later.  nudity can stimulate sexual desire and passions at various ages it really depends on the person. i started looking at magazines at 14 or 15 maybe a little younger even . there are cultures  that begin even sooner . to me its all very natural as long as its age appropriate. Pornography on the other hand  is video or photos of the actual act of sex (of many kinds). i dont feel that  it should be present where young people surf and look at the art and  imagery that is available on DA. thats one of the reasons we have safe searches so that young people wont see these things(nudity).  i dont think that pornography should be on DA at all. there are other more appropriate and consensual places for that.  i also think its very important to differentiate between the two. i would not want my children watching me and my wife together like that. however  nudity is not pornography. nuduty is just that nudity. male or female. i have noticed there are far less male nudes than female im firmly of the mind if you dont like it don't look at it pass it up noone is compelling you to select that nude to look at except you.!! and if you dont want to see nudes then turn on the safe mode. because  for you to sensor me or my art you are projecting your fear on me(i say that because most of it comes from fear that God or someone is going to be offended by it). and im not afraid of it. and i am FREE to make that differentiation.
the human figure male or female is absolutely amazing. i am a male and i can find magnificence and beauty in a male nude as much as a female nude and i do look at both in like manner . however im not stimulated by the male as i am the female.  but that doesn't mean i should make lude or rude comments about any of it. that is where maturity and intelligence plays out in how we deal with these types of issues. but that is the great thing about freedom. you have that choice. there is no need for us to respond or accept a comment like that and just like an image you may not like it just let it go ignore  it.  it is possible.!! its like whatever man. i hope this made some sense.  ya know hey maybe im wrong, im not trying to offend, but to me its as simple as this say,
I like chocolate, you dont, then dont eat it then  i say dont tell me not to eat it cause you dont like it. your not me.

#1 no there is not to much.
#2 never, censorship is (control) you should not tell me what i can and cant draw, photograph or what ever. protect the young ones by age appropriate filter of nudes. as i said above pornography should not be on DA  where young people surf and browse art. and there is a difference.!!!
#3 not so far.
#4 thats a broad question for example if a site says it inappropriate i would honor thier request, however i would not change my work. it mine not yours i wont post it on your site. see ya round. / no i havent heard of that  happening
#5 No
muck1 Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2014
Forget the role of the internet as this debate is quite timeless — and the answer has always been the same, I'm sure of it.
Take profane murals and explicit frescoes in Rome 2000 years ago.
Take pornographic carvings in Paris 1000 years ago (there was even a flourishing black market for those! :D).
Take erotic novels in London 250 years ago.
It is wise not to rub children's noses into such content but should they get to see explicit material by mere chance it doesn't mean the end of the world *if* their parents did do their job and taught their kids how to handle inappropriate content responsibly. With that said dA can't be drawn on to compensate for a parent's shortcomings in that matter.

There's a certain irony in the fact that the only topic addressed in here is the line between erotic art and pornography. What of gore, violence, what of macabre themes and politically extreme content? If one can dent a child's psyche so can the other. If one can't, then so can't the other.

Having said that, I'm totally against modernity's "extended" definition of art. While reading these words you might feel tempted to challenge me for a better definition of artistic value or you might want to question my skills as a hobbyist but in truth the only thing I have to say is this: Everyone has their personal "bottom line" for a distinction between art and no-art. When asked if the result of a dog defecating on a flowering meadow did pass for art, even a certain famous artist who had previously sold a dog-dirt besmeared chair for a sculpture replied with an emphatic "no". Many say it's necessary to define art without any objective characteristics whatsoever as art should become more "democratic" (in fact it already is since everyone can engage in arts these days). The subjective art concept however entails that a chair with dog shit on it has the same artistic value as Michelangelo's David. I cannot believe that. I don't want to believe that. Long story short, if dA decided to implement certain quality standards I wouldn't mind. Nowhere else on this website is the spectrum of quality as wide as when it comes to adult content.

There's a painting by the well-known long-term member Jana Schirmer that perfectly illustrates all the various facets of this debate.
(NSFW :redalert: )…

Some people say it's hideous. Some people say it's gorgeous. Everyone agrees it's well done.

Then there's a certain dA member the works of whom I don't even want to link: A woman who continously uploads tasteless nude "selfies" of her wrinkled body that defy all standards even of beginner photography skills. Call me elitist if you will, I don't think what that member does qualifies as art either way. I think it's her intention to provoke or she's terribly fond of herself. It matters not. What I argue that it matters is "lifeblood" if I may say so. I've often found myself admiring works that were ignored or criticized by the community. I admired them because even if they weren't flawless or had odd themes they gave solid proof of deliberation, enjoyment of work and the artist's genuine interest in 1. the audience, 2. the subject and 3. the technique. That's precisely why I like "Raupture" even though I'm unsure what to make of the depicted scene.

Now let me get back to the original question: There are good nudes. There a bad nudes. I wouldn't sob myself to sleep if the dA team began to delete the bad nudes the likes of which in my eyes don't qualify as art and don't belong here. All the same I don't think that mature content should be censored right away or officially shunned. Ere I cast a final vote I'd like to see this debate extended to all subjects that could be inappropriate for minors as only then a community-wide consensus can be found.
matthew-lane Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
"Some people say it's hideous. Some people say it's gorgeous. Everyone agrees it's well done."

Yep, personally I find it to be a gross image, however that's how artistic merit is judged: Subjectively & not objectively. nor can my subjective dislike for the image be used as a way to ban the image.
Falco-Tinnunculus Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2014
I have no problem with artistic nudes. But I really dislike porn, objectifying and oversexualizing of human body. For me, these two categories are distinct. I have seen a picture of my favourite anime character depicted as a sex toy even when she was completely dressed. But the figure and face expression were causing this effect. And of course, i have seen plenty of pictures of completely naked people, that were simply beautiful.
In art, nudity can represent simply the beauty of human body, or naturalness, purity, vulnerability, truth, intimity, and also sexuality, but sexuality is not the only meaning.  And when dealing with sexuality, there is a great difference between discreetly erotic nude and porn. At least for me, but I know that the border is individual. Artistic nude can be erotic, but not bluntly, the erotic should be partly shrouded in mystery, it should have aesthetic value, more meaning than just erotic, etc. Porn is just a porn, with only meaning to cause erotic excitement to the seer.
I take naked body, male or female, young or old, as natural. I am not comfortable with pictures showing genitals, but I don't support distinguishing permissible and prohibited pictures only according to visible parts of body. The border between porn and artistic nude is not in centimeters of skin, but in something less definable but more obvious.
As for children, I am not sure if a look on an a naked non-erotically depicted human body will harm them more than the hypocritical pretending that a human body is something dirty, obscene and offensive. But for this reason, I personally dislike depicting artificially modified bodies as an ideal of beauty, but I don't take it as an issue for censorship.

1. Maybe I don't see nudity as a problem here in dA, because I usually browse only daily deviations, sometimes undiscovered deviations, but rarely what's hot :D
I have never been a man nor lesbian, but I think I would have same opinions if I were.
2. I am afraid that it is impossible to draw a simple and strict line between permissible and prohibited pictures. I hope a wise person as a censor can distinguish between porn, that is prohibited in dA, and artistic nude better than any definition.
3. No.
4. How should the artist react? Take it easy. When the owners of the webpage allow people to post their pictures here, they have also the right to censor some of them.
5. I don't know. I have never been in such situation.
DreamsOfGems Featured By Owner Edited Nov 20, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
  1. Do you think there is too much nude subject matter on deviantART or is it a non-issue for you?  How much do you think your gender or sexual preferences might influence your answer?
    Too much nude subject matter, nope. And even if they are by statistics, does not affect me. I do admit that I have subjective opinions because I am a woman, but I regard those opinions as REALLY subjective thus it is none of everyone's business, and I don't need to blurt them out even when I disagree on something.
  2. When is censorship of art permissible?   Where would you draw the line?  What rational rule could you offer as a practical guideline?
    I don't think "art" should be censored. I wouldn't offer anything as a practical guideline except for the artist to put their art in the proper categories and tags. I don't know if DA has an automatic filter the moment a person filled out their date of birth and the system detected that he/she is under 13 or 18 years old, though. If the date of birth and the year were made into a required field, the filter can be applied automatically and the people above those age can just simply choose the filter of mature content to be on/off (I don't know if DA has done this because I am not in that age range anymore and haven't heard of such filters being applied to a certain age limit entered in the data). I am a parent, I still have objections in my youngest son looking at mature contents (he is still 6 years old) but mainly because I fear that he is not able to tell the difference between art vs porn vs plain sickening photos. To him those are just information - and I believe that a lot of children under the age 18 who are still perceiving nude art as porn. Content filtering being done against the filled out age perhaps would be the best way but again kids can cheat their age out. This issue is the parents' responsibility - not the community.

  3. Have you ever had a work of art you created censored or banned in any way?
    Nope, nudity is not my medium.

  4. If an artist really believes in what he or she has created, how should the artist respond to censorship of that art?  Have you been made aware of an instance of “art suppression” via the Internet?
    Yes I am aware actually because my country imposed a very strict rule about nudity. This includes everything, including art. DeviantArt got away from my country's censorship because perhaps the site crawler haven't reach this place yet, ha ha, and for that I am grateful. But I don't really know how the artist should respond because I have seen so many nude artists got censored in my country and they did not react to it in any harsh way - usually the censorship imposed on them just made their name more famous. As for those beginner artists .... well perhaps they just need to properly tag and categorized the work, or take it elsewhere where there are no censorship.
  5. Would you ever suggest to another artist that he or she should tone a work of art down or agree to the censorship of an art object in a specific situation?
    I wouldn't suggest to tone down. They are what they are and their perceptions are actually none of my business. What I see in DA is not actually "too much nudity" or sexual-oriented context, but what I see lately are tasteless porn. In my opinion, there should be a degree of "effort" being put in a photo or drawing to make it as an art. What I see these days are people just snapped away a picture of a woman with bare vagina, in poor lighting, no effects, no photoset and even no attempt to edit the photo to make it look interesting and focused, and they just slapped it down in DA and made it as "art". But I question the artist themselves rather than their objects - and I don't bother commenting or even observe any further, or even reporting them. If they produce bad work it is their business, and there will be people rejecting to their idea of art and there will always be people who accepts them. That's the way life is. An effective "warning" for an artist's work will always be the people's reaction to it.

    To have us agree or disagree on censorship is actually a difficult thing because I believe all people here appreciate the freedom to create. I don't mind showing the nude art pics on this journal to my eldest son but I would definitely hide them from my youngest. It is up to me to filtered out the information and not up to any other people. So I think this would be a very difficult thing to resolve globally - and I believe that each person should just act according to what they believe is the right thing to do. The problem in dealing with this in DA actually lies on the age of artists entering the site. If the nude contents became too worrying then DA should banned every artist who is under 18 years old ... and I don't think that they want to do that :) . And if they don't want to, it is fine by me. 
Arcenild Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2014
Good Nudes but not pornographic, just artistique.
KiKurenai Featured By Owner Edited Nov 20, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
1. (there is TOO MUCH nudes pictures. as a young women it is not the happiest of thoughts to see women taking sexual selfies, and such media just to get attention. Nudes as a message to society and for a cause are inspirational but see another young female in her undergarments reads the wrong message.)
Art that is a nude in photography as shown above is elegant but some are borderline. they have the modesty of relaying the message with out over exposure
2. art is in the eye of the beholder: yes. There is a line of sexual interuption and a nude art. Lots of exposed pictures are on deviant and should be removed. We as young and older people don't need to be exposed to this when it is not productive. there should a be a defined line.
3. never surpression is still in this modern day because as this society evolves, we still hold values to things that are taboo, yet we override this with shouts of 'free speech and expression' and the screams of those whom oogle at this media.
5.  yes but there should be a more defined filter and warning. many bypass the system
shyanne4cad Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
  1. There is no issue with it for me.  My gender and sexual preferences have no influence on my opinion, as far as I am aware.  
  2. This is the tricky question.  Certain artwork that can be considered damaging shouldn't be on this site.  By that I mean child porn, bestiality, rape, ect.  A lot of people commenting hold the opinion that artworks that are sexual in nature need to be censored, but I disagree.  Erotic art can still be interpreted as art, and so long as it isn't damaging (like rape art) it's fine.  I may not like it but I'm not being forced to look. 
  3. I don't draw or photograph that kind of stuff.  No.
  4. It depends on the reasoning for the censorship.  I've also been aware of art suppression from outside of the internet, but it did help clarify a few questions I had.
  5. Uh, no.  I don't think I ever would.
evilteq Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
I think it's a very sensitive topic: there are already 15k comments so far.
X-CyNix63 Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
1. I think it's a non issue. I'm a female and I'm straight, but nude female works can be some of the most beautiful, so it's a no to both questions of influence.

2. Where nudes are concerned, I'm not sure where I'd draw the line. Obviously, if the subject in the work has an issue with it or if the place where the work is going to be held has an issue, there's an obvious line, but social lines are harder to draw with the wide spread of opinions.

3. No, because I personally don't work with nudes. I'm a landscape photographer. I don't do people.

4. Like I posted above, if the place where the work will be held has an issue with it due to the websites guidelines specifically banning nudity (which is usually a family oriented website for all ages and such), then I believe that this needs to be upheld, but if the website has no such guidelines and it was banned just because of someone's beliefs on the nudity issue, then the artist needs to stand up for what they believe in. Likewise, there are measures the artist can take to alter guidelines on the banning website in a formal manner with petitions and such, not causing either parties too much pain. (Am I just an optimist?)

5. No. I don't believe in telling an artist HOW they should CREATE their works of art. Posting it certain places I might make a bit of noise for if I have an opinion, but in the creation of it, I will not tell them that it's wrong simply because there's too much nudity.
TheInventor200 Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
1: I think it's a non-issue. Gender will bias someone's answer to this.
Personally I don't think I'm biased. The nudes on this site either don't affect me at all or they repel me. I have no attraction to a naked body unless I'm familiar with the mind within it, which is why I could never understand nude art.

2: I would only draw the line if posting an art piece brought very severe harm upon someone. i.e. revenge nude, a pic with someone's bank account on it, a piece which signals a massive cult to slaughter people.

3: No. I've never had my art censored, because my art often is not extreme enough to be censored. If I want to have the words "love" carved into the side of a pig's body, then I will give the picture the appropriate "mature" tag. However, if anything too gruesome is in my work, I have a habit of building censors into the work itself. i.e. Legs covering genitals, walls hiding extreme gore, other conveniently-placed objects.

4: I've never seen art suppression outside of copyright infringement, but if an artist feels he/she has been censored, then they can take it to other mediums where the suppressors have no power.

5: I would never ask another artist to tone down a picture. If what they do is too extreme for me, then I will simply stop following them. There's no reason for me to give them restrictions upon their passion.
bendrowned-ebooks Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2014
 i thought we were talking about ppl taking naked pictures of themselves but then i realized this was an art site and it was probably not that
Siamese712 Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2014  Student Digital Artist
I don't agree with strait up censoring or banning of art of any kind, but one also should keep in mind the community and context in which the art is presented. DA, for example, is a community designed for young teen age groups to full adults. So the system of content warnings work. Though it's technically censoring it works for the community. Honestly think about it, the minimum age for this site I believe is suppose to be 13. There's a lot of nude art work on this site that I enjoy and find very tasteful, but even still I don't think I'd want my 13 year old cousin looking at it. Mostly for the fact that they're just still a little to young to truly understand it.

So I don't want to see nude art go away, but I can agree with keeping filters and warnings. I simply wish thee where different levels of filtering. A rating system if you will. there used to be the 16+ filter then the 18+ filter and I think those worked. and honestly I don't see anything wrong with having rated R content on the site as long as we had the filter for those who don't want to see it.
NobleValerian Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
This is not a real conversation, it's pretty clear cut.  Art *is* subjective.  Every system gets abused and for everything that exists, there is a divide in respect to opinions.  We all have a right to an opinion about what we perceive as art *and* have the right to voice how we feel about that art.

As far as being nude, it highlights the human form, not humanity.  A photograph is not a person, it's a thing and being nude draws attention to *what* you are, not *who* you are.  You can criticize people for being "perverse" or "immature" all day, but your complaints don't hold any weight.  When you choose to objectify yourself, especially when you post it to the web, you don't get to complain about being objectified.  It doesn't matter if you spent 10 hours in perfect studio lighting wearing nothing but a scarf or if you took a shameless selfie after masturbating in the shower - if you have the right to call it art, everyone else gets the right to share their opinion on that art.

If you don't want people getting hot and letting you know what they think of your well kempt outer labia or your dangling man bits as you pose like a greek statue, don't put it on the web for people to see.  Yes, *people* are the problem, but not the people commenting to share their opinion.  It's the people complaining about those comments, it's the hypocrites criticizing you for sharing your opinion as they share theirs with art, it's the hypocrisy of a photographer claiming that a nude model actively objectifying themselves is being disrespected because people find him/her sexually attractive.

At any rate, what is "permissible" is incredibly vague.  If we are keeping the conversation exclusive to deviantART, then when a user asks for a certain category of work to be censored, it should be censored.  Art needs to be properly tagged and categorized so that if don't want to see bloody corpses I don't have to.  Alternatively, nothing is ever censored and I agree to be exposed to a variety of things that might make me uncomfortable if I use the site.  I think it's pretty obvious which works better for the end user, but it's also which system is more difficult to implement.
Chu96 Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
There's a difference between nude art and porn. Nude art can give an amazing story or message, but porn is I think there's not enough amazing nude art, like these, so, personally, I find a lot of nudes to be unnecessary. With art like these, it's great.
Cyprind Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Please don't seduce me... :(
CissneiSplice6 Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
 This is really amazing! Alot of people who do nude art walk more on the pornographic side than the artistic. Not saying that that's wrong people are free to express themselves however they like. I personally just wish people posted more like this. These are truly beautiful! 
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