Gallery should use discretion

To the editor:

Finlandia University would keep better faith with their community if they would show a little more discretion in selecting which items to display in their art gallery in the Finnish American Heritage Center.

As it is, the mission of the Heritage Center and the actions of the International School of Art and Design seem to be at odds, undermining the respect and potential support of the community.

Last month’s exhibit, Carbon, by Tony Orrico, featured a video titled “Vessel for Governing and Conception.”

His “vessel” in question was graphically displayed in four dimensions. Now this month’s Juried Student Exhibition includes a piece titled “My Untitled David.” Not only is David untitled; he is also unclothed and uninhibited.

But this is art. Hasn’t nudity been common in great works of art since the time of the Renaissance?

Yes it has, but with taste. It was a genre for conveying nuances in the human experience, not shock value.

The nudity depicted in Renaissance art was a celebration of design and creation, not base erotica.

Art is a means of communication, and any good communication considers its audience. In this case, the audience includes grade-school children who walk through that gallery on a weekly basis to attend music and dance lessons in the Heritage Center.

Another significant portion of that audience is a conservative, family-oriented community that would rather avoid the gallery than be subject to viewing such productions.

In the case of the Juried Student Exhibition, that is a shame. Pieces like Abigail Tembreull’s portrait “Angus”, or “Self Portrait Mosaic”, or the social commentary in “Mind Extraction” enrich the viewer.

Carol Kozminski’s weavings are lovely, and Ben Miller’s whimsical “You Are Next” is inspiring in its own way.

Work like this will go under-appreciated while it shares a space with less appropriate endeavors.

This is not a call for censorship but for courtesy and self-governing on the part of the university as it determines what makes appropriate viewing in the Finlandia University Gallery.

Holly Emmert

HOUGHTON