An art gallery in Russia’s fourth-largest city of Yekaterinburg has censored nude paintings over what organizers called parents’ concerns for children, the 360 TV news channel reported.
The five-day art exhibition displayed a painting of the naked Roman goddess Venus with a small curtain covering her entire body below the shoulders. Stickers were also strategically placed on two paintings of the naked Margarita from Mikhail Bulgakov’s classic Soviet novel “The Master and Margarita.”
“In my 20 years of art exhibitions, this is the first time I’m encountering this,” artist Vadim Tuzulukov told 360 TV on Saturday.
“This gallery has been running for 11 years, and parents have in the past asked us to cover up nudity,” said gallery director Andrei Chaynikov.
The stickers were removed Saturday ahead of the exhibition’s last day, Salavat Fazlitdinov, the gallery’s art director, told the Yekaterinburg-based Znak.com news website.
The male gaze has shaped art’s obsession with the naked body. Mary Beard offers a female perspective
Mary Beard is standing on a chair, chiselling the fig leaf off a large classical statue in Crawford Art Gallery in Cork. “God this is quite exciting. My hand is taut with the nerves of it all,” she says, though what lies beneath the familiar modesty motif turns out to be something of a disappointment. The statue, cast in plaster from an original in the Vatican collection, has suffered “a limited castration”, with the result that the fig leaf – probably added in the 19th century to spare the blushes of Irish art lovers – had nothing much to hide. “There’s something really ironic about these things that were meant to stop you seeing things,” Beard reflects, “when what they end up doing is saying: ‘Look at what you can’t see.’”
Her outing to Cork comes midway through the first episode of Shock of the Nude, a two-part BBC Two series which sets out to interrogate western art’s obsession with the naked body. The Cambridge classics professor has already marvelled at the marble musculature of Michelangelo’s David and tried her hand at a life-drawing hen party (“He’s got very good bum cheeks,” enthuses one of the group). These scenes are a subversion of Beard’s central thesis: “I don’t think you can talk about the nude unless you talk about male desire.” Given the dominance of the male gaze, the programmes ask, how is a woman to find her own perspective?
One of the challenges of the subject, Beard admits, was how to place herself as the presenter. “It’s an interesting position to find yourself in, because you’re having to present views to people with your clothes on about what it’s like not to have your clothes on.” She is not afraid to share her own emotional responses. “In my fantasies,” she says of Titian’s Venus of Urbino, a reclining nude with her hand lingering suggestively over her genitals, “I’m with this naked lady and we’re both giggling at these blokes who are leering at us.”
Given the brickbats that Beard has suffered over the years, this challenge to the usual formalities of art scholarship is both pointed and brave. “I think you’ve got to be a bit resilient about this,” she says. “It was a team effort. We’ve said what we set out to say and if you get some crap on Twitter, as I’m sure we will, that was not our intention.”
Over the years Beard has repeatedly faced down the misogyny of the media – both conventional and social. “This is what 57-year-old women look like, deal with it,” she told the critic AA Gill after he criticised her appearance in her 2012 television series, Meet the Romans. Discovering that she had been largely edited out of the American version of the landmark 2018 series Civilisations, which she presented alongside Simon Schama and David Olusoga, she wryly responded: “It looks to me that mine were more substantially edited than the others’… I wonder why that was? I always try and stick up for elderly ladies with grey hair.”
“This is what 57-year-old women look like, deal with it,”
The relevance of this very personal history, in the context of a film about the nude, is underlined in an interview with the artist Jemima Stehli, who in 2000 created a provocative set of photographs of herself stripping in front of a series of male curators and critics, to whom she had given control of the camera. One regular response, Stehli tells Beard, was “Would you do this if you didn’t have a body like this?”
Against the intransigence of the male gaze, Beard pits her own, shifting perspective. “I was brought up with 1970s feminism, when the object of the male gaze was seen as a part of male appropriation of women, and there’s a lot going for that position. But as I’ve got older I’ve begun to think: ‘What do I do? Am I not supposed to engage with it? Step one is to see the sexual politics, but can we go beyond this? What happens with women artists? Is it just a case of exalting male desire?’ But I like looking at these things and I have no intention of stopping. I think there’s room for hope.”
I was born in Paris in 1934, the middle child between two brothers and of artist parents. My English-born mother was an Impressionist painter and my French father an influential art dealer and painter.
I lived an unconventional childhood; raised on a naturist island. I spent my days in complete freedom, playing in the sea and admiring nature. We were forced to flee during World War II to a community in the eastern mountains of France where I completed my education at an open-minded, art-based primary school and then, at 16, at an archetypal child-centred experimental school. I’ve always been free from constraints and to explore the visionary side of life.
I was never his lover, but I also had no anxiety around him flirting with me.
In the summer of 1953, age 19, I was sitting with my boyfriend Toby on the roof of one of the pottery studios in the small French town of Vallauris, when Pablo Picasso, whose studio was just nearby, opened his gate and invited us over. That was the first time we met.
I remember how there was a beautiful girl there and I thought she was much more sexy and beautiful than me, but Picasso said, “I want to paint Sylvette.” I was delighted and felt very honoured, even though I was a very shy and quiet girl.
That first time I posed for him I just sat in a rocking chair. I was terrified of old men because I was abused as a child, but Picasso was the most charming man and he put me at ease very quickly. Many times he tried to make me giggle, to get me out of my seriousness. He was funny – like a clown, actually – and I loved that.
Martin Gabriel Pavel (MGP): I’m a 31 year old multimedia artist born in Czech republic. I’ve been doing the Daily Portrait photo series since 2011.
VWS: How many people do you think you’ve seen naked throughout the course of this art project?
MGP: I’ve photographed over 1500 people.
VWS: Can you explain the concept of the photo series in a few sentences?
MGP: Each series has a different concept. In the last series in Berlin, 381 people were photographed naked, and those who were photographed, also took photos of other strangers. For example, I photographed Elle in her apartment, then I gave her my camera and she went and photographed another stranger in his apartment, and so on.
Heterosexual people got naked in front of homosexual people, a refugee photographed a naked older German lady. This concept was important, because of the wave of xenophobia happening in Germany caused by the recent migrant crisis in Germany in 2015.
In the current series, which has started in February 2018, I’ve been photographing people in Brno, Bratislava, Budapest and Vienna. 100 people in each city. I’ve taken 334 photos so far. Brno, Bratislava and Budapest are already complete. A book of all 400 photos will be published in the summer of 2020, and an exhibition will take a place in Vienna.
The aim of this series is to capture a feeling, the atmosphere of the city through pictures of the naked body.
VWS: Was it hard to find people to get naked and participate in the photo shoots? How did you find them and how did you convince them to get involved?
MGP: I’ve found models through articles in the media and by posting in Facebook groups. It’s a snowball effect. People who already participated are telling their friends and spreading the word about the project.
Author of How To Have Feminist Sex Flo Perry appeared on GMB this morning
Claims kids being exposed to human form can make them less self conscious
Viewers weren’t keen on the idea with one saying the class could be ‘dangerous’
A feminist author has claimed that children seeing naked bodies from a young age can make them feel more ‘relaxed’ about the human body in the long run.
Flo Perry and Mariella Frostrup appeared on Good Morning Britain today where they debated whether or not children’s art classes should include life drawing, in order to make them more comfortable with the human form.
Flo, from London, believes it could be a ‘mind-opening experience’ while Mariella, 57, Somerset, said that while something needs to be done to address negative body ideals, she doesn’t feel this is the ‘most productive way’ to go about it.
Viewers weren’t keen on the idea, with one saying most young children would ‘laugh their heads off’ at the sight of a naked body, while others were angry at the idea, with one branding it dangerous’.
Flo argued: ‘Naked strangers is this big word. Nobody is gonna be like, “Put my kid in form of naked strangers”.
‘We have to examine our own reaction to that and think “Why do we have that reaction?”.
A care home in London has bowed to residents’ demand to invite a nude male model for a life drawing class.
Sherwood Grange is a care home based in Kingston Vale, London, which provides both residential and short-term respite care for patients, including specialist care for dementia sufferers.
Residents requested care workers at the home to organise a life drawing class, together with “a nice handsome” man to model.
Some 12 residents took part in the life drawing class, led by professional artist Robin Rutherford, to paint a nude male model. They enjoyed glasses of prosecco while working on their pencil sketches.
“Most people expect life in a care home to be a certain way – but here at Sherwood Grange we’re keen to ensure that there are no limitations and every day can be different and fun,” Rick Mayne, home manager at Sherwood Grange, told Metro.
“Life in our care home is all about helping people to enjoy more independent and fulfilling lives – and today that meant expanding people’s experiences and doing something out of the ordinary.
He added: “It’s fair to say we’ve never had a nude model at the home before – but based on the response we may well do again!”
On the 9th April, a mild Saturday evening, in Newcastle two hours north of Sydney, a group of people lined up outside the Newcastle Regional Art Gallery in preparation for a private tour of the gallery. The tour was organised by the ROSCO Nudist Club and made possible by the Australian Naturist Federation (ANF) with some help from TAN magazine. The evening provided a rare opportunity to visit the gallery and have a guided tour while naked.
The idea behind the tour was to provide not only a unique experience for Naturists, but also to provide the opportunity through the resulting media exposure to spread the word about the existence of the ROSCO Club and the ANF, as well as providing the opportunity for members of the public who may have an interest in social nudity to participate in an organised event.
As an added incentive for those looking for “an excuse” to attend the event, it was advertised that profits from the evening would be donated to the McGrath Foundation’s mission to fund McGrath Breast Care Nurses in communities right across Australia and increase Breast Cancer awareness in young women. A total of $500 was collected via donations from the night.
The event also saw the issue of media releases and a number of radio interviews and press coverage resulted. It is important to let people know that Naturism is a legitimate lifestyle and such mainstream media coverage is a great way to normalize clothes-free living in our society.
At the appointed time the doors were opened and the gallery staff directed those in attendance to a secure room where they could get undressed.
Sixteen incredible men and women who have been diagnosed with cancer have taken part in an empowering photoshoot for Stand Up To Cancer, giving an honest and unfiltered look at the disease.
The inspiring project, called Defiance, has been released as part of Stand Up To Cancer, a joint fundraising campaign from Cancer Research UK and Channel 4, and aims to showcase the gritty and raw reality of cancer. These men and women have embraced scars and changes to their bodies, big or small, as a show of strength against the disease.
Shot by photographer Ami Barwell, the project is a follow-up to her Mastectomy series in 2017. Following an outpouring of positive responses to her previous photographs, Ami has broadened this series beyond mastectomy scars, to reflect a diverse range of experiences and we’re so here for it.
Speaking about the poignant series, she said: “To me, Defiance is an act of rebellion. Cancer isn’t pretty, it can be dark, painful and destructive. But we aren’t playing to cancer’s rules. These people are strong, beautiful and, most of all, defiant.
“My previous Mastectomy series was inspired by my mum, who has had breast cancer twice, and a mastectomy, so this was a subject very close to my heart. I wanted to raise as much awareness for breast cancer as possible, showing women baring their scars in a series of gritty and honest portraits. I received an overwhelmingly positive response, with emails from women worldwide explaining how my photographs had inspired them and given them strength. For many, these were the first photographs they’d seen showing women post-mastectomy as beautiful, sexy, strong and amazing. I knew I had to carry on raising awareness with Stand Up To Cancer and empowering people through my photographs.”
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.
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.