University Professor Asks Art Students to Get Nude for Class or Fail

A University of California, San Diego, professor is causing quite a stir with his class syllabus with a final exam that students take in the nude. The final exam for the upper lever class, titled “Performing the Self,” involves 20 students, plus the instructor, nude in a candle-lit room.

Unsurprisingly, the final exam has at least one mother up in arms. An anonymous parent told KGTV-TV that this assignment is “just wrong,” and shows Dominguez’s “perversity.” She added, “To blanketly say, ‘You must be naked in order to pass my class’—it makes me sick to my stomach.”

“It is very all controlled,” Professor Ricardo Dominguez told a local ABC News affiliate, KGTV 10 News. Dominguez says he’s actually been handing out the provocative assignment for 11 years, and that this is the first time anyone has complained. “It’s a standard canvas for performance art and body art,” he told KGTV. “If they are uncomfortable with this gesture, they should not take the course.”

Art students, if recent headlines are any example, generally don’t mind getting nude for a good cause (see Naked Youths Take to Mexican Streets to Protest Student Killings Documented by Édgar Olguín and Texas Student’s Nude Performance Art Project Goes Viral).

According to the the class description on the Department of Visual Arts website at UC-San Diego, students in the course “[Use] autobiography, dream, confession, fantasy, or other means to invent one’s self in a new way, or to evoke the variety of selves in our imagination” in order to explore “the rich possibilities available to the contemporary artist in his or her own persona.”

The final assignment is to “create a gesture that traces the outlines or speaks about your ‘erotic self(s).” Parents and shy students might want to take note that “figurative nudity” is also acceptable.

“We had a choice between being nude or doing something emotionally ‘naked’ and every student but one chose to do the nude performance,” one former student wrote on KGTV’s Facebook page. “It was uncomfortable for some of us but we were adults and knew what we were getting ourselves into from day one of the class.”

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