A California art professor asks students to undress for their final exam. People might think this is a strange request, but the professor at the University of California-San Diego has being requiring students to take their final examination in a visual art class for 11 years, according to USA Today.
Associate professor Ricardo Dominguez said in a statement that the students were given the option of a “nude gesture.”
“It was clearly outlined in the first class (just like any other first day where professors go over the syllabus) that the final gesture would be a ‘naked’ one and what we could expect that day.”
He continued to explain the method for his final examination, saying that the “history of the medium is crucial for them to experience.”
“The core canvas for many performance artists has been, and continues to be, the nude or naked body.”
Jordan Crandall, chairman of the university’s Visual Arts Department, defended Dominguez, who teaches Arts 104A: Performing the Self. He explained that students were told on the first day of class that the “nude/naked self” gesture is required, but it can be done in several ways without stripping down to one’s birthday suit. Students are not required to remove their clothes in class. Besides, the course is not required for graduation.
“There are many ways to perform nudity or nakedness, summoning art history conventions of the nude or laying bare of one’s ‘traumatic’ or most fragile and vulnerable self. One can ‘be’ nude while being covered.”
The final assignment has gained some negative attention from current students in the course. However, some former students learned from the experience. Shanise Mok, who took the course in 2012, says the gesture allowed her to “challenge herself intellectually.” She said she learned to take her art to another level.
Fox 2 News reported a mother says she was bothered when she learned of her daughter’s art class requirement to get naked for her final exam. The final exam involved students acting out a series of gestures, and the last gesture was labeled “erotic self.” The mother says the idea of her daughter taking an exam in the nude makes her sick to her stomach. She calls the whole thing “perversion.”
Professor Ricardo Dominguez stands by his requirement. He has about 20 students in his class, who must get naked. Dominguez himself gets naked in what he calls a performance of self. The whole thing takes places in a dark room that is lit only by a candle.
Dr. Dominguez has a single piece of advice for students and their parents.
“If they are uncomfortable with this gesture, they should not take the class.”
What do you think about taking an examination in the nude?
[Photo via Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times]