Redefining Nude

Many everyday items are described as “flesh” and “nude” in color. Whose skin color do they represent?

How would you define “nude” as a color?

Until the 1910s, underwear was usually white. But then a new hue came on the market: a peach or pink tone called “flesh.” But whose flesh did this color reflect? These early definitions of “flesh” and “nude” colors have historically excluded Black, Indigenous, and people of color.

This exhibition examines that history and highlights efforts to redefine “nude.” Redefining Nude was curated by Institute fellow Isabelle Marina Held with assistance from the library’s Ashley Augustyniak and the museum’s Katie Lagarde and Molly Sampson.

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Virtual Tour

Curator Isabelle Marina Held presents Redefining Nude, which was on view in our museum from February 17 through June 4, 2022.


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