SAN DIEGO, Calif. – A mother is furious after she learned what her daughter was being forced to do to complete a visual arts class.
Associate Professor Ricardo Dominguez has been teaching Visual Arts 104A: Performing the Self for 11 years.
“The class that focuses on the history of body art and performance art in relations to the question of the self or subjectivity,” Dominguez told KGTV.
However, one mother says she is furious that her daughter was forced to perform nude for her final in the class, or risk getting a failing grade.
“It bothers me, I’m not sending her to school for this,” said the mother. “To blanket say you must be naked in order to pass my class, it makes me sick to my stomach.”
“At the very end of the class, we’ve done several gestures, they have to nude gesture. The prompt is to speak about or do a gesture or create an installation that says, ‘what is more you than you are?’
He said that 20 students strip down, including him, and do a performance of self in a dark room that is only lit by candlelight.
“It is all very controlled,” he said.
Dominguez says all students know what to expect from the first day of class.
“If they are uncomfortable with this gesture, they should not take the class,” he said.
However, the student’s mother says that was not the case.
“Nothing was ever explained, nothing was ever stipulated prior to Thursday,” she said.
The Chair of the Visual Arts Department, Dr. Jordan Crandall, provided KGTV with a statement on Monday.
In it, it states that the class is not a requirement for graduation and that students are not required to be nude.
“The concerns of our students are our department’s first priority, and I’d like to offer some contextual information that will help answer questions regarding the pedagogy of VIS 104A.
“Removing your clothes is not required in this class. The course is not required for graduation.
“VIS 104A is an upper division class that Professor Dominguez has taught for 11 years. It has a number of prompts for short performances called “gestures.” These include “Your Life: With 3 Objects and 3 Sounds” and “Confessional Self,” among others. Students are graded on the “Nude/Naked Self” gesture just like all the other gestures. Students are aware from the start of the class that it is a requirement, and that they can do the gesture in any number of ways without actually having to remove their clothes. Dominguez explains this- as does our advising team if concerns are raised with them. 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.”