Nakedness takes two: a person seen and a person seeing. Thus, in art, nudes throw human relationships into high relief, forcing viewers to inhabit a gamut of ethically charged possibilities—everything from cruelty and exploitation to empathy and equality. In an era of sexting, burkini bans, and “locker-room” exposés, nudes in art have the power to provoke rare moments of illumination.
Wendy Steiner is the Richard L. Fisher Professor Emerita at the University of Pennsylvania and founding director of the Penn Humanities Forum. Among her publications are The Scandal of Pleasure and Venus in Exile, and librettos for The Loathly Lady and Biennale.
Reception to follow.
This event has received generous support from The Charles Wharton Stork Lecture Fund.