Tag Archives: nudity

Nudity: Going Naked for Art? or Just Chimp Marketing?

Nudity has been the bedfellow of art since the ancient Greeks. The Greeks had naked bodies everywhere in their art not to mention what the Romans did with theirs. It’s not the sight of a naked human body that I find rather disturbing. Rather it’s the degree to which the idea of getting naked as performance art at major art venues is becoming the norm.

We recently covered an article about the artist Milo Moiré. Her strange desire to get naked in Basel, Switzerland during an art festival did not go unnoticed by either the authorities, who could do nothing legally, or the sponsors of the event.   I realize that one naked performance artist tramping her way through crowds of art sightseers is hardly a pandemic of nefarious nudity.

However, according to Artnet news, in May, the performance artist Deborah de Robertis decided to produce her own version of Gustave Courbet‘s L’Origine du monde (Origin of the World) and exposed her genitalia for the room to see.   The authorities at the Musée d’Orsay saw very little humor in the unscheduled event and had her performance cut short with a police escort.

At this point you might believe that this is a European problem. Alas, no. According to NPR, Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi is currently facing a potential 2 year prison sentence in Japan for creating a kayak modeled after her genitals. This is a strict no-no in Japan. She has already run into trouble with the Japanese police for just trying to raise the money for the Kayak and once again for sending pictures of it online.

Again, the issue is not the nudity. It’s the notion behind the nudity. None of these artists are arguably creating anything more worthwhile that scandalous publicity. It’s one thing to dutifully perform these acts as a symbol of protest or support for some political or ideological ideal, it’s quite another to just get naked and/or proudly display your genitals for a bit of publicity.

For the record, each artist claims they did these acts of exposure for artistic reasons. That’s fine in a sense. However, the more skeptical minded would see this as a mere attention-getting stunt. I mean, what are you protesting by exposing your genitals to a room full of people in front of a painting made in 1866?

Would it be wrong to see this as a simple yet rather effective marketing ploy that hopefully results in higher art sales? That of course brings us to a secondary question. Will it work? That these stunts might actually lead to a rise of personal sales by each of these artists is troubling.

I find this kind of marketing desperate and rather inartistic. If one wants to openly display oneself as some primal oriented object to garner personal attention, then how is that art?

Feeling by Andrew Chianese

Our primate cousins do this on a daily basis. Have we reduced  the arts to the level of chimpanzee marketing?  How then does this display make for art of a higher purpose? If it doesn’t, why do it?

Why not start your own artistic journey ?  Sign up to be a friend of A&A Photographic Arts today!



Art Basel and Milo Moiré Exposure (Pun Intended)

Every year there is a huge art show in Basel, Switzerland known as Art Basel, this huge show brings in the collectors with very deep pockets to wander through a maze of art galleries. These aren’t your ordinary galleries either. They apply for and survive a tenuous juried selection process to be allowed in.

Individual artists are not allowed; only galleries.   However that does not stop certain performance

Painted Peacock
Painted Peacock

artists like naked artist Milo Moiré. That’s right, Moiré decided to strut her stuff, like some attention seeking peacock looking for a response, into the convention center naked.

Milo Moiré
Milo Moiré via Facebook

According to Artnet , when the convention authorities turned her away, and told to put some clothes on, she decided to take her performance to a local town square.   The daily patrons and tourists evidently got a real kick out of taking pictures with the nude artist. Well, at least the men did. Evidently, no women jumped at the chance to take selfies with her.  Go figure.

This left me wondering. How is she able to get away with walking around town naked? If you tried this in the states you would probably end up in a jail cell or at the least with a coarse wool blanket and a ticket for indecent exposure.

Well, according to Switzerland’s The Local it’s not a legal issue.

“In the canton of Basel-City, mere nudity in public is not prohibited,” Andreas Knuchel, city police spokesman, told 20 Minuten newspaper.

The “non-sexually motivated” baring of flesh in a public place is neither punishable by the criminal code or by cantonal law, Knuchel said.

If anyone is disturbed by the public display of nudity they can launch a complaint, which the public prosecutor would then have to examine, he said.”

Responses to this performance range from a few whistles to claiming it’s all just a really sad joke.  I’d love to show some pictures of the event but, after all art and nudity are always found together.  But, the truth is I have a hard time accepting this under the category of art.  It may have started out that way. But in the end it is nothing more than, for lack of a better word,  exhibitionist exposure.  (pun intended.)

Why not start your own artistic journey ?  Sign up to be a friend of A&A Photographic Arts today!