Chicago Sun-Times
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San Francisco art gallery displaying a nude photo of Joe DiMaggio

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Of all of the things you thought you'd never see, a nude photograph of baseball great Joe DiMaggio probably belongs near the top of the list. He was a very private person and besides, how do I put this, who would really want or need to see that?

Apparently an art gallery in San Francisco.
A full-frontal nude photograph of Joltin' Joe hangs in the gallery Modernism (685 Market St., Suite 290, through Aug. 29). The exhibit is "Hunted and Gathered," anonymous photos from the collection of Robert Flynn Johnson, curator emeritus of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

The photo shows DiMaggio in a postgame shower, wearing a happy grin. It's early in Joe's career, circa 1940. From the neck down it is Michelangelo's statue of David. Neck up, it's Huck Finn with a goofy smile.

The photo is part of an exhibition from photographer Robert Flynn Johnson, who has some interesting opinions on why the stark-naked DiMaggio is art -- not something that should have remained out of the public eye.

"Celebrities have a mask," Johnson said, "and when you pull out a camera, they put on the mask. Here you see Joe as a kid, with a slightly goofy grin. As he gets older he takes on a more severe, distinguished look. (The photo) is a kid, showing joy, and his guard's down."

Added Johnson, "It's a Rorschach test for people's perceptions. Some will only see a Joe DiMaggio, see only frontal nudity. To others, you or I, this is an athlete in his prime, showing happiness, and it's as simple as that. ... I don't find it titillating at all, it's a marvelous photo."

The Internet being what it is, you can see the photo with minimal searching if you so please.

Anybody really up in arms about this or have we reached a point where this type of stuff doesn't shock us anymore?

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This page contains a single entry by Kyle Koster published on July 31, 2009 8:50 PM.

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Nomar Garciaparra says some players asked to be put down as testing positive for steroids in 2003 is the next entry in this blog.

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