A graduate Fine Arts student wished to introduce his multimedia sculpture show at the award-winning Centre Gallery with “body mapping.” He would appear nude, in silhouette, with his  image transmitted via video. Viewers were supposed to ask what is real, and to recognize the vulnerability of the human body to the surprised viewer’s impulsive responses. The student felt that this event was crucial to the success of his show: “I am transferring parts of myself to the outside world. That is true realism.”

Administrators of the gallery refused to allow the nude
performance, for varied and seemingly contradictory reasons.
First, they cited administrative procedures. The student did not
tell the gallery in time. His proposal was submitted six weeks in
advance, and he decided on the nudity one week later. Second, the
assistant director of the gallery said that state and federal
laws prohibit public nudity, and that health and safety standards
were also an issue. This, therefore, was not “censorship,” in
their opinion, no more than rejection of artwork involving
fireworks would be. “We just cannot tolerate certain things” (in
this case nudity, which apparently involves harm). Since the
artist agreed to the gallery regulations when he submitted his
proposal, he cannot say, administrators felt, that his rights as
an artist were violated.

The Gallery’s assistant director opined that the situation was a
learning experience for students, at least, for those who learned
what one must do if one wishes to run a gallery. Apparently, she
did not mean that they should learn the proper way to protest
against existing laws and mores, but that “it is the artist’s job
to push the envelope, and the gallery manager’s job to determine
what is feasible and is not feasible for the gallery.