Art critique

UCF professor reprimanded for offensive art criticism

Teacher reprimanded: University of Central Florida student filed an anonymous complaint accusing Dr. Walter Gaudnek (pictured) of using foul language to discuss his art project last year, which earned him a warning

The University of Central Florida berated a veteran art professor and renowned painter after a student accused him of using offensive language when he criticized his art project.

The student anonymously filed an ethics complaint in October 2016 after Dr. Walter Gaudnek’s advanced painting class, calling his alleged use of foul language in the classroom “extremely unprofessional.”

According to the student’s complaint, obtained by the Orlando Sentinel, the 85-year-old modern artist and award-winning educator said of her work: “You should just paint a vagina on it, that would be so much better.”

The student also quoted Gaudnek telling him, “You can’t paint the fucking Virgin Mary like that, she would be so fucking fucking ***.”

When confronted with school officials about the allegations, Gaudnek denied making the strong remarks and noted that he had academic freedom to say whatever he wanted in class.

Veteran educator: Dr. Gaudnek, 85, has taught at UCF's School of Visual Arts and Design since 1970, winning several teaching awards

Veteran educator: Dr. Gaudnek, 85, has taught at UCF’s School of Visual Arts and Design since 1970, winning several teaching awards

Gaudnek's canvases, one of which pictured above, has been exhibited in museums in the United States, South America and Europe

Gaudnek’s canvases, one of which pictured above, has been exhibited in museums in the United States, South America and Europe

Administrators insisted that this does not extend to “using offensive language” to assess a student’s work.

School officials sent a letter berating Gaudnek’s language and reminding him to be respectful to students or face disciplinary action and dismissal.

Gaudnek, who has taught at UCF’s School of Visual Arts and Design since 1970, agreed to write a warning on the curriculum regarding the language he uses to teach pop art, Dadaism and Italian futurism.

According to his biography, Gaudnek, a self-proclaimed “rebel artist”, was born in the former Czechoslovak Republic in 1931 and received a doctorate from New York University in 1968.

Prior to coming to UCF, Gaudnek had taught at universities in Los Angeles, New York, Long Island, and Ohio and was appointed a Fulbright Fellow in 1951.

Gaudnek, a self-proclaimed “rebel artist”, was born in Czechoslovakia in 1931 and received a doctorate from New York University.

Gaudnek, a self-proclaimed “rebel artist”, was born in Czechoslovakia in 1931 and received a doctorate from New York University.

During his tenure at UCF, Gaudnek won three major teaching awards, including the University of Central Florida Presidents Award in 1999.

His paintings have been exhibited in museums in the United States, South America and Europe, and several of his works are in permanent collections in Germany and Florida.

The Daily Mail attempted to contact Dr Gaudnek for comment on Wednesday, but he did not respond.


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