Last updateFri, 01 Aug 2014 4pm

Curators of male nude exhibit hold their breath as they await reaction from conservative Guadalajara

Visitors to “El Hombre Al Desnudo” (Man in the Nude) at Museo de las Artes may be surprised to learn that this impressive exhibit in Guadalajara’s premier museum had already been creating a stir long before its by-invitation-only inauguration Tuesday.

Perhaps that is because when it showed in Mexico City (after moving through Vienna, Budapest and Paris), a publicity image used on Facebook resulted in the suspension of the Museo Nacional de Arte page.

Facebook isn’t the whole world, thank goodness, but the tempest in a teapot does demonstrate that art — and depiction of naked human bodies — can still rankle people, perhaps more so in Catholic Mexico than in staunchly agnostic Europe. And, since Guadalajara is considered more conservative than Mexico City and yet at the same time a gay bastion, staff at the University of Guadalajara’s Museo de las Artes (Musa) seem to be holding their breath as the show opens, wondering what the public’s reaction will be. After all, in Mexico City (where, incidentally, the number of works shown was higher, although not the quality, curators insist), attendance was great, despite or perhaps because of the Facebook stink.

“We know it is attracting attention and we hope that is for the better and not the worse,” said Musa staffer Norma Mendoza. Her pride was clearly evident as she shepherded a visitor through the 85 pieces in five spacious salons, punctuating the tour with plaudits — ”I love this one” or “This is my favorite!”

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