At sunrise on Sunday, June 2, 2019, 125 people posed nude in front of Facebook and Instagram’s New York City headquarters at Astor Place to challenge social media censorship. In collaboration with the National Coalition Against Censorship, artist Spencer Tunick created a photographic artwork as part of their #WeTheNipple campaign.
The campaign calls for a change in the polices of both social media platforms to allow photographic artistic nudity. NCAC has written an open letter to Facebook, which owns Instagram, asking them to commit to supporting artists, rather than silencing them. NCAC has asked Facebook to convene a group of stakeholders in the arts to develop new guidelines for artistic content.
Participants in Sunday’s art action covered their nipples with stickers of photographed male nipples, to highlight the rigid—and anachronistic—gender inequality in existing nudity policies. The nipple photographs used to make the stickers were generously donated by Bravo’s Andy Cohen, artist Andres Serrano, actor-photographer Adam Goldberg, Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, Whitney Biennial featured artist Paul Mpagi Sepuya and Tunick himself.
Social rules have always determined the perception of the nude female body. Earlier this year, Playboy published the slogan “Nude is normal” on the cover of his iconic erotic magazine. The omnipresence of nudity in our digital era was previously the reason why editor Cory Jones stopped publishing nude photos in the magazine in October 2015. Creative director Cooper Hefner declared in February 2017 on Playboy social networks that the company will resume its publication of nudes. According to Hefner, “nudity was never the problem because nudity is not a problem. Today we recover our identity and affirm who we are “. The discussion around the nude female body and its relationship with eroticism is ongoing. The female form has been represented and seen for centuries, but is rarely accepted. Let’s take a look at the perception of the feminine form in recent years.
In the prehistoric era, it is presumed that the representation of the female body had a cultural and spiritual purpose. Some of the early gadgets that represented the female body were small clay shapes of the bodies of fat women, also known as Venus figurines. These figurines would guarantee fertility or encourage people to have sex. This spiritual meaning of the nude female form is evident in different religions in which eroticism and body are associated with divine powers. Think of the frescoes in the Roman Catholic Church of deceased angels or the Greek goddesses.
Eastbourne Naturist Swim Club and ‘The Renaissance Nude’ I happened to see an article online about Paris naturists arranging a visit to a modern art gallery – the Palais de Tokyo. It made the news not the least because 30,000 people wanted to get tickets to be naked in the art gallery. Although this was a private event and only 161 people were able to attend it was notable for being so newsworthy.
A friend of mine suggested we try the Royal Academy and specifically the exhibition ‘The Renaissance Nude’. I wasn’t sure this would have great appeal and I thought that pictures that were 500 years old might be difficult to relate to. After all many naturists believe that staring at others (dressed or not) is rude and we engage in eye to eye contact much more that non-naturists and that gives new naturists a comforting experience as they are given the confidence that people are interested in their personalities rather than their looks.
So actually we are viewing the pictures, much as a non-naturist might, to find out what people really look like, except that we know when we see an idealised representation that is unrealistic. This period from around 1400 turns out to be very interesting and the reasons for painting nudes then was often quite different from the current, often commercial, standpoint.
I wrote to them and a group visit was quite easily arranged, although we would be segregated as usual from the public having to attend after normal opening hours. The Royal Academy provided online ticket arrangements and organised a low key media release.
62 naturists visited and we were provided with a room to undress, the cloakroom stayed open, a photographer from Getty Images made some pictures and we all proceeded naked up the grand staircase and then up some glass stairs to the top gallery. Here we had the exhibition to ourselves for two hours. We were able to purchase audio guides and the main shop stayed open. There are also quite a few free galleries available to see and although there were several members of staff in the building who were not officiating with us, there were no signs of awkwardness. The staff who looked after us were very welcoming and at ease. Any trepidation that there might have been from the RA’s very first naturist visit soon evaporated and by the end we were discussing a repeat visit and we are keen to do so.
Some of us were privileged to attend a private viewing of an exhibition, The Renaissance Nude organised by the J Paul Getty Museum in association with the Royal Academy of Arts. The latter housed the chosen works of Renaissance masters (and mistresses) within its Burlington House headquarters in London. But there was a difference; everyone who attended the exhibition were themselves naked.
I have visited the RA in London many times over the last 35 years: but usually to attend their Summer Exhibition. This annual event has been one of the highlights of the artistic year in England now for over 250 years. The grand courtyard entrance, marble foyer and steps to the galleries are as familiar as my own home, but then step into that space without clothing then the feeling is unsettling and dreamlike. Yes, indeed, it was like that anxiety dream we all have.
My fellow Naturists drifted up the steps, past the friendly but nevertheless frozen faced security staff on our way to the main gallery. As we entered the subdued lighted rooms, the purpose of our visit began. Which was what exactly?
On the surface, it must have seemed like a bit of a wheeze for the gallery. “Let’s put on a show about how nudes were portrayed in the 15th and 16th Centuries and then get a bunch of 21st Century nude people to look at the art works.” And for the Naturists themselves? Well, any opportunity to get naked and promote naturism as a reasonable and mainstream activity is always welcomed. But then we have the obvious problem: what connection is there really between the two? It might just as well have been an exhibition of steam engines. We might all have been dressed as Firemen.
The human form in its infinite variety, at one extreme idealised, at the other rendered grotesque, is the unifying factor in the Royal Academy’s The Renaissance Nude, an exhibition that brings together a roster of artists, working in many media, who may not normally share a show.
On the one hand are the showstopping Venus Rising from the Sea (c1520) of Titian and magnetically attractive Saint Sebastian (c1533) of Bronzino. But three steps away are voyeuristic inspections of the bathhouse and of priapic satyrs, erect male members poking from their goaty groins. Eroticism is never far away but, as with the human body, it is better disguised by some than by others.
The exhibition opens and closes with the religious art that was at the heart of 15th- and 16th-century painting and sculpture, and whose narratives come ready made.
Christ is stripped naked for his baptism, flagellation and scourging. Depictions of his vulnerable, mortal state were intended to demonstrate that he was only flesh and blood, like those who contemplated his plight.
Sandra Ballard has negotiated a performance, for a naturist-only audience, on Friday 9 August 2019 in Oxford, of the play Redcoatsby the well-known travelling Mikron Theatre.
“Mikron’s radiant Redcoats will guide you through 80 years of Butlins splendour with their trademark mix of fun, pathos and songs. Join us as we delve into holiday huts, bonny babies and knobbly knees with guest appearances from Marlene Dietrich, Gracie Fields and Laurel and Hardy.”
This special performance will be at Toad Oxford Artisan Distillery, Old Depot, South Park, Cheney Lane, Oxford OX3 7QJ. Don’t forget to bring a towel to sit on!
Arrive on Friday 9 August at 6.30pm for tasting a gin or two, before the play starts at 7.30pm. Tickets for the play are £15.50 each and can be purchased from the BN website. Book early to avoid disappointment!
Naked in the city Naked in public, supposedly can be seen as an act of madness, free, a disdain of decency.
But for the lenses of artists like Spencer Tunick , Pablo Saborido and Erica Simone (in the photograph above), however, the attitude gains new meanings: stripping naked in the urban space can also be a way to strip the urban space itself.
The king paraded in his carriage, showing the population his new and magnificent visible clothing, according to the supposed tailors who produced it, only for the most intelligent people. And all those who attended the stop, elegant as they were, made a point of praising the fabric, the cut, the colors of the clothing of the clothes except a child who, noticing the obvious and screaming , the king is naked! He made the people understand what he was actually seeing: a naked king.
For different reasons - social, political, cultural, economic - the distinction between what is public and what is private becomes increasingly complicated. Few people know, today, what belongs to each other's terrain. At the same time cause, consequence and "solution" of urban conflicts, the construction of closed shopping centers and condominiums, for example, ended up transforming the city into a place full of walls and surveillance cameras and empty of encounters and visibility. We are so locked in ourselves that others or the other are somewhat invisible in our day to day.
And it is precisely the meeting or the direct contact, without any barrier between men and women of the city that the American Spencer Tunick promotes by registering crowds of naked people in various parts of the world.
Spencer Tunick in Valencia – April 2019 I have taken part in Spencer Tunick’s art installations before & I love both the experience & the resulting art, so when I heard he was coming to Valencia I didn’t hesitate to book some cheap Ryanair flights direct from my home in Ireland.
Through previous installations and the Spencer Valencia dedicated Facebook page I met with some friends old & new including two other friends from Ireland for a meal the night before. There was a real international flavor to our group with people from Russia, Norway, the Netherlands, the UK, Brazil & Ireland all having a good time with no politics at all. There was much speculation about what Spencer had planned and several of us had spotted a few cherry pickers (raised platforms) around the city but as usual none of us really knew what Spencer had planned.
The morning of the installation we met in Centre del Carme Cultura Contemporània Carrer Museu, a museum in the centre of Valencia at 5 am. We gathered outside and the air of anticipation was palpable and even for people like me who’d taken part before it was hard to resist being swept up in the buzz. There was much nervous chatter and introductions, I got chatting to a Spanish girl who was alone so I introduced her to my friends so she felt part of a group.
Finally the door opened to the museum & we were filtered through a small entrance way where we had to hand in our model release forms before proceeding into a large courtyard with a walkway around it; here the men & women were separated with the men being brought into a second separate courtyard with a similar walkway around, there was more waiting and nervous chatter.
After a relatively short wait Spencer came in and with the help of a male & female model Spencer demonstrated the poses he wanted us to do during the various installations he had in mind.
The sculpture, depicting a naked couple in a passionate clinch, has attracted tens of thousands of visitors to the Mansion since it arrived at the end of last year – but none were quite as eye-catching as the 60 members of British Naturism who were given a private viewing recently.
They were also given a talk about the sculpture and other work on display by museum curator Emma Roodhouse.
A spokesman for Ipswich Council, which owns and manages the Mansion, said: “It was an unusual booking, but we were happy to allow them a private viewing. They were a very pleasant group and were really interested in The Kiss and the other exhibits we have on show there.”
He said that a member of museum staff had to accompany the group during their visit to the exhibition – but it was otherwise a private visit.
“We asked for volunteers – no one was forced to stay in case they might have been embarrassed, but the visit was a great success.”
Andy Wyman from British Naturism said: “We have visited other museums before such as the Haynes Motor Museum and the Maritime Museum in Falmouth but this was the first time we have been to such a prestigious event with the magnificent Rodin sculpture, The Kiss.
Early in the 16th century, Fra Bartolomeo painted an altarpiece of St Sebastian for the church of San Marco in Florence. Though stuck full of arrows, the martyr was, according to Vasari, distinctly good-looking in this picture: ‘sweet in countenance, and likewise executed with corresponding beauty of person’. By and by the friars of San Marco discovered through the confessional that this image was giving rise to ‘light and evil thoughts’ among women in the congregation.
It was removed and eventually sold to the King of France (who was presumably less bothered by that sort of thing). So even during the heyday of Michelangelo and Raphael depictions of human bodies without any clothes were not necessarily all about art. This is one of the themes of The Renaissance Nude, a truly marvellous exhibition at the Royal Academy.
This show is packed with lovely things to look at. There are beautiful bodies aplenty, and the roster of artists includes many of the great names in painting and sculpture — Dürer, Titian, Raphael, Signorelli, Memling. As a visitor, that’s really all you need to know.
The Central Bank of Iceland has decided to remove a classic painting by the famous Icelandic painter, Gunnlaugur Blöndal, after a staff member of the bank complained about the painting’s explicit content. The complaint was filed amidst the #metoo movement last year.
Fréttablaðið reported that a staff member thought the painting, which depicts a topless woman, was inappropriate and asked if it was possible to stop displaying it. Continued…Read full original article…
Students from the University of Bristol have been snapped in the nude for a naked charity calendar.
The cheeky photographs feature students from 12 different societies, including the badminton team, a group of fencers and the lifesaving team, all posing with strategically placed objects which prevent them from baring all.
One of the nude pictures shows the ultimate frisbee team standing proud in the park with just their frisbee protecting their modesty.
Others show the Snowsports society turning their backs to the camera on the dry slopes.
The calendar was organised by the University of Bristol’s Raising and Giving (RAG) society with proceeds going to three local charities.
The spectacular range of images were taken by photographer Bryan Wong.
‘The calendar has become an annual event within RAG’s fundraising, due to the pure enthusiasm of the student body,’ RAG’s events officer, Paige Taylor said, speaking about the calendar’s success. Continued…Read full original article…
In the yearly World Happiness Report, Denmark, along with its Nordic neighbours, continuously ranks in the top three spots. But what is it about the Danes that makes them so happy? “After three years, I still don’t really have an answer,” says Giulia Mangione, whose book Halfway Mountain seeks to uncover this very question.
Mangione started the project in 2014, as part of a photography course she was taking in at the prestigious Danish School of Media and Journalism. Her experience as assistant photo editor at Calvert Journal and interning at MACK Books had helped her “develop a taste for documentary photography” and photobooks, she says, and, after showing a dummy of her project to Corinne Noordenbos – a celebrated educator and former tutor of contemporary photographers such as Rob Hornstra and Viviane Sassen – she decided to expand on it.
Her first draft had been based on Danish traditions, but over the next three years Mangione started to photograph aspects of everyday life in Denmark instead, focusing in on themes that would eventually form the rhythm for the image sequence in the book. She was particularly drawn to twins, old people, nudity, and also hedges – and she spent a whole month exclusively photographing the latter. Continued…Read full original article…
Seeing the Naked Truth nude tour advertised I thought ‘how often do you get the chance to be naked in an art gallery”. Arriving at the Crawford 20 minutes early I meet Leticia. I knew she was with the nude group as I saw her Irish Naturist Association hat on. I introduced myself and she made me feel welcome. Seeing my name on her list made me realise I was really doing this. Thinking I needed a rum and coke I went into Cashmans pub next to the Crawford Art Gallery. I got back to the gallery when all the textiles were leaving. (I got the lingo now). I must have walked with confidence as the door man gave me a nod and said ‘you must be with the group’. I felt proud nodding back saying that I was.
I have never got naked in public before never mind in an art gallery with a hundred other strangers. Everyone was chit chatting. We were brought up stairs to wait where I walked from painting to painting trying to figure out was there anyone else on their own. We were brought into a beautiful room which I think was the library. I sat on a seat. This man sat next to me and we started chatting , he was on his own too. Then another women sat next to him. I asked her was she on her own. She was, so the three of us kept each other company. I told them it was my first time doing something like this. A man spoke about a charity close to his heart which I think was a cancer charity called ‘bare to care’. When he finished talking I glanced around and saw some people were naked already. I took my shoes and socks off while still chatting to the man and women. The three of us agreed it was time to undress too. Trousers next, then knickers, then the long top and the last was the bra undone. I stood there naked and said, “well that’s it, it’s my first time”. Another man walked past and shook my hand for my bravery and said “well done”. Continued…Read full original article…
Beales Gourmet found itself in the national news after the Daily Echo told how its dining club had been unable to post its adverts on the social media platform.
Facebook’s algorithms had rejected the ad for their “sexual or erotic” content. It turned out its algorithm had spotted two 1924 Romanesque statues in the grounds of the Italian Villa at Compton Acres. Since the Echo ran the story on Tuesday, Beales Gourmet has featured in The Times, the Daily Mail and BBC Radio Solent.
Commercial manager Justin Cohen has since had the statues’ modesty covered with Beales Gourmet aprons.
He wrote: “Dear Facebook, We’re so sorry you were offended by the fine physiques of our Herculean statues. To spare your blushes, we’ve taken the necessary steps to cover up the offending items. We trust this will be to your liking. Tastefully yours, Beales Gourmet at The Italian Villa.” Continued…Read full original article…