Last week, the Edinburgh Airport briefly censored a Picasso poster after a passenger complained about the nudity. In a brief piece I wrote in Sunday’s Washington Post, I opine that the problem is less the nudity than the art. The woman is blue, her hair is green, and she has a breast growing out of her sternum; it’s my contention that if the image were more realistic, it would bother people less, and that it’s the very unfamiliarity of the depiction (“unfamiliar” 80 years after it was painted) that makes some viewers resist. What are your thoughts?
This is not unrelated to classical music. I always tell the story of seeing a woman at a quartet recital sleep happily through Mozart and Brahms and bristle like a wet cat throughout the Lutoslawski, perhaps not realizing it was the only piece on the concert that she actually heard. I think that more literal representations of the female form might be akin to Mozart: people are able to perceive them as simply “pretty” and let them fade into the background.