Nudes by Sheila Albanese and Brandon Whipple

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Date: 2002

Region: North America

Subject: Nudity

Medium: Mixed Media

Artist: Sheila Albanese and Brandon Whipple

Confronting Bodies: Brian M. Morgan, Moravia High School Principal and William Tamaro, Superintendent of Schools

Date of Action: June 2002

Location: Moravia High School, NY

Description of Artwork: Moravia High School seniors Sheila Albanese and Brandon Whipple displayed their nine drawings of nudes at the annual districtwide art show. Both are advanced placement art students who are going to college, Syracuse University and Rochester Institute of Technology, to develop their artistic abilities. In particular, Albanese has received first-place awards for her work and some of them were exhibited at the Schweinfurth Museum. The seniors were sent to the Community School of Music and Art in Ithaca every week, to develop these nude drawings.

The Incident: Principal Brian M. Morgan did not allow Sheila Albanese and Brian Whipple to exhibit their nudes in a district-wide art show. School president Russel W. Riddel said that the school board was backing the decision, explaining it by the fact “that young children might not want to see these drawings."

Results of Incident: NCAC made an appeal to the school administration explaining both the laws of free expression and art history. The incident reached local media where the residents of Moravia expressed their sympathy for the drawings and questioned the school district’s decision. Eventually the nudes were exhibited in a separate area with black stripes covering the breast and genital areas of the models, an alternative proposed by Sheila Albanese. Some of the stripes carried the word “censored."

Source: The Post Standard, The Citizen, NCAC