Representations of the body present valuable resources for questioning how historical, political and social conditions function to shape attitudes and identities. Viewed within a framework of discourses about power, domination, pleasure and subordination, the explicit representation
of bodies and acts does not have to be delimited as pornographic exposure. In this article I suggest a strategy for viewing Robert Mapplethorpe's photographs which demonstrate their potential as a resource for engaging students with discourses of sexuality and race as a part of the secondary
art curriculum. I focus my discussion on two particular photographs: Joe (1978) from Mapplethorpe's sadomasochism series and Ajitto (1981) from his series of black male nudes. I demonstrate that these, sometimes problematic, artworks can offer students a point of intervention
into contemporary cultural debates about sexuality, race and subjecthood.
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Document Type: Research Article
Research Unit Law Society, London, UK.
Publication date: 2009-12-01
More about this publication?
The International Journal of Education through Art is an English language journal that promotes relationships between art and education. The term 'art education' should be taken to include art, craft and design education. Each issue, published three times a year within a single volume, consists of peer-reviewed articles mainly in the form of research reports and critical essays, but may also include exhibition reviews and image-text features.
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