Another Art Teacher in America Fired

Relating to this ridiculous post yesterday, there’s a New York art teacher that is currently fighting for his job after recommending that some of his more advanced students should take life drawing classes.

Pete Panse had been teaching art for 25 years before being suspended and potentially being fired, pending hearings of the case.

Brian Yoder has plenty more information on the case over at the Art Renewal website, but there hasn’t been any updates since July.

What is similar to the Texas art teacher case, is that it was one parent that created all the problems. It seems to be the school administration (Middletown School District) that is taking all the irrational steps though, as the parent that complained has actually been defending Pete Panse.

“What initiated this whole case was one complaint, from a father who (presumably on religious/moral grounds) was opposed to his daughter being involved in any extracurricular class in which nude males were the subject. Of course it’s his right to make that decision for his own daughter, but we see no reason why such a choice to refrain from his daughter’s participating in such classes should preclude her teacher from even mentioning their existence. In fact, this particular father has recently been defending Mr. Panse against the attack by the school administration.” Art Renewal
>> Art Controversy, American Art News

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.


  1. What a close minded, superficial and disturbing generation is taking the world… being surrounded by a world of explicit hints of sexuality and being afraid of nudity just says how many problematic issues there is going on peoples minds.
    Nudity is pure and beautiful, we are born this way and people make it complicated.
    Life drawing is also very taughtful, a great way to learn about human body proportions and how it works, very hard to understand in clothing.
    If heaven does exist are we taking our personal belongings after we die? Make sure you use your best suit then!

  2. Why are school boards catering to the complaints of ONE parent? Fear of lawsuits? like-minded board members? I don’t get it.

    You go to any checkout in this country you see giant grapefruit size fake boobs busting out of the seams on front pages of mags, on billboards, sexploitation in the media and they are getting their knickers in a twist over two incidents that really parents have control over. Parents can stop their child taking a field trip to an art museum (where it is a given they will see images they disapprove of), and they can not allow them to take drawing classes. arg!!!!!

  3. Must be fear of the lawsuits I suppose? But isn’t it a legit fear, after all isn’t it easy to win the most ridiculous lawsuits in the USA sometimes? At least you read about the most outrageous ones…

    Lifedrawing classes are a HUGE part of learning the human anatomy which is often central in art. In my school we have nude models coming to our school the first year and through-out from time to time. We get to draw, paint and sculpt with nude models. No one has had a problem with it, no one says anything about it. If anyone did the teacher wouldn’t be fired, but the student not allowed to participate would sit in another room with an other assignment.

    Sure the father “has the right” (I don’t think so but ok I’ll let that slip) to keep his daughter out of it but what about all the other students losing their lifedrawing classes, if the school won’t allow them, PLUS their teacher? Why should he have that kind of power over other people’s kids?

    With the whole God hates Sweden, brasilian men calling me this and that on ICQ, people wishing death and gods wrath upon us.. I’m so glad I’m in Sweden in sometimes, where (conservative) religion isn’t that rooted.

    Should the parents worry about anything it should be the media, not art schools…

  4. Anonymous says:

    I have a collection of cartoons starting in early 1900′s to 1960′s. One from the early ’30′s depicts a prosecuter dragging some poor wretch into court declaring,”Your Honor!, this young woman gave birth to a NAKED child!”

  5. Anonymous says:

    THere seems to be an outspoken minority of Americans who view all nudity as sexual, i.e. sinful. The Dallas newspaper printed a small illustration of Lillith, the mythical first wife of Adam, in the Religion section. The illustration was a classical etching of the first woman of Eden. “How dare the Dallas Morning News show a woman’s bare breast in the Religion pages?”, she wrote, oblivious to the irony…

  6. Anonymous says:

    We americans always speak as if our ideologies and culture are superior to every other nation’s. The majority of Americans believe themselves to be intellectually sophisticated, yet a minority of prudes, zealots and non-intellectuals seem to have the most sway these days. Former NYC mayor Giuliani tried to close down an art museum because his catholic sensibility was affronted by a painting of the Madonna (a very crude, naive rendering, at that) rendered with elephant dung. The current Presidential administration is close to endorsing a theocracy with the far right lining up to ban books(Harry Potter anyone?), tell us what art is “acceptable” and what is “moral (ethics never seem to be important, though); all while we force other countries to establish “democracy” in our own image.

  7. Maybe they should reprint this cartoon anon “Your Honor!, this young woman gave birth to a NAKED child!”
    that is really funny.

  8. Anonymous says:

    The cartoon in question was in “Cavelcade of Comedy” as I remember. It featured The New Yorker cartoons prominently before the The New Yorker ever published cartoon anthologies. I’m not sure if the particular cartoon mentioned before was originally published in the “New Yorker”. To me, it ranks up there with “I say it’s spinach; and I say to hell with it.”

  9. Anonymous says:

    How different is this than science classes that study human anatomy? Where would we be without medicine? What does this say about art’s status next to academics? Serving our minds should have equal footing in art and science. They are complimentary, not competitive!

  10. Your ace cub reporter strikes again! For the good news on Peter Panse’s case, read the latest update at Coxsoft Art News:
    Hey, how about swapping links and icons, as we seem to be complimenting each other’s blogs? Readers can then flick from one site to another to get the full story. I’ve got room on my sidebar for the Art News Blog icon. Can you find space for my Coxsoft icon?

  11. Life drawing pictures don’t hurt kids. I framed all of mine, and they hang on the walls in my home. I raised two kids who saw them every day, as did many of their friends. My house did NOT become a mecca for ogling teenagers. They came, they looked. My kids said, “Hey, my mom drew that”, and they said, “She’s really good. It’s nice.” The sky didn’t fall, no angry parents called, no stones came through my windows. Older kids with a serious interest should certainly be given credit for having enough maturity to look at a nude model and not go off the deep end. Apparently, we can’t say the same for some parents. Drawing a picture never hurt anybody.

  12. It does sadden me to think that a teacher can be fired for this. It is every parents responsibilty to protect their children from harm. In this case I am failing to see where the danger comes from. In my opinion prudity comes from not knowing……from a curiosity for what is out of bounds and socially taboo. Surely we could better protect our youngsters through dymistification of the subject rather than “covering it up”

  13. Just for the record, I have a few nudes on my walls. There are some oil painting companies that offer great deals these days. Try Oceans Bridge or Art House International

  14. Come on people..I paint from live models all the time, but who isn’t surprised that someone might be shocked about their kid drawing a male nude in a public school.. Obviously public middle or high school is not the place for this…If a parent has a talented child..then they can find open drawing sessions anywhere else. For an art teacher to suggest this…maybe..I still don’t think it is going to go over well with most parents of high school age kids. Nudity is beautiful, but I don’t think a young girl needs to be within five feet of a nude male model just some things for later..Why do we want absolutley that kids grow up so fast?

  15. mark allen says:

    I have painted from live models many times. I am a painter. I understand why we study nudes. but at the same time nudity is a very private affair, and too often today it is played off of some victorian oppression as a means of stimulation for distracting and captivating purposes. Also I would like to comment the beauty of humanity is never at the fore front of a movement; it seems what is in front today is the dehumanization of us. From homoerotic art to cadavers and robotics.

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