Utah art teacher to appeal against firing for unintended nude artwork display

Source: Xinhua| 2017-12-31 19:39:39|Editor: Zhou Xin
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DENVER, Dec. 31 (Xinhua) -- An art teacher in Utah, the United States, planned to lodge an appeal against his dismissal early this month for display of nude drawings during his class.

The teacher named Mateo Rueda at Lincoln Elementary School in Hyrum city claimed that he just asked pupils to use the art postcards placed in the school library for the class, and he did not know some of the cards showed nudity.

"The library had several art books and eight boxes of postcards showing a wide array of artwork. These materials were provided by the school, had been there for years, and had presumably been used by students many times before," Rueda was quoted by the Herald Journal newspaper.

The teacher said he has requested a hearing on the issue and would appeal against the school's decision to fire him in defence of his "clean reputation."

The postcard collection is part of the educational package called "The Art Box" produced by global publisher Phaidon. The 100 postcards inside present masterpieces of artists from medieval times to the present day, with detailed descriptions on artworks and creators.

Several locals argued that it was not the pictures that worried them, but Rueda's reactions after the incident.

Parent Venessa Rose Pixton has lodged a complaint with the school, saying her son "felt that Mr. Mateo belittled them."

"He said Mr. Mateo even told the class 'There's nothing wrong with female nipples. You guys need to grow up and be mature about this,'" the mother told the Herald Journal.

Rueda denied saying so or using such a tone when taking the postcards back from the children, insisting that he told students nude artworks are unavoidable when they grow up and go to museums.

It is reported that after the incident, school officials have looked through the card boxes and other educational materials in the classroom to avoid further distribution.

The pictures that triggered controversy are said to be Amadeo Modigliani's "Iris Tree" and "Odalisque" by Francois Boucher.