How do you capture pure dance? Strip the dancers of those distracting clothes. Slow down time. Japanese photographer Shinichi Maruyama shot his dancer models in the middle of graceful, complicated maneuvers. He captured the paths of their thrusting limbs and swaying torsos as a series of shapely blurs and fleshy swirls. They are like 3D canvases covered in hurried brush-strokes, like abstract living sculptures. For stationary images, they are very charged. Pretty great, huh? Don’t dismay. With a properly unlit warehouse, some umptz umptz umptz, and a lot of glowsticks, you could get a similar effect. It won’t be as aesthetically sophisticated, but it will be similar. Check out the series recently profiled by Designboom in our slideshow. Umptz umptz umptz. … Read More
There’s a controversial new exhibit now on view in Vienna. The museum had to recently censor its ads around the city… just because they feature an artwork by Pierre & Gilles with three fully-frontally nude soccer players encircled by victorious confetti. See, we’re quite accustomed to the female nude in art. But men? Scandal!
Presenting, the Leopold Museum’s Nude Men, an ”unprecedented” and “long overdue exhibition on the diverse and changing depictions of naked men from 1800 to the present.” From the Renaissance’s ripped, pants-less, glassy-eyed slabs of masculine perfection to Bruce Nauman’s ’80s frantic drawings of a semi-transparent, erect male silhouettes in a jagged can-can line, from Paul Cézanne to Andy Warhol to Egon Schiele — the museum’s all-star lineup and a varied body of work explores the changes over time in “the concept of beauty, body image and values” of the male nude. And here they are: All the nudes, none of the fig leafs. … Read More
Allan Teger started his career as a psychologist, but through his studies of meditation and consciousness, he found himself keenly focused on repetition in nature and how that extended to the human body. His nude landscapes — complete with miniature figures traversing fleshy hills and valleys — were born. Teger has been working on his longtime photo series Bodyscapes since the 1970s, composing quietly playful images that sometimes trick the eye. See what we mean in our gallery past the break. … Read More
Why do models pose in the nude? Why take it all off to stand, shimmy, or pretend to throw a punch in front of a photographer’s immortalizing lens? The Naked before the Camera exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art surveys nude photography from 1850s to the 1950s and beyond. Flip through the rabbit eared nude studies for Parisian artists and the tattered American “fitness magazine” pages of men flexing in loincloths. Check out Brassaï’s recreation of a brothel and Félix-Jacques-Antoine Moulin’s softer nudes before he was arrested in 1851 for works ”so obscene that even to pronounce the titles would be to commit an indecency.” Peek into the finger-print smudged world of Lady Ottoline Morrell, an Edwardian-era rebel whose estate parties featured D. H. Lawrence, T. S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, and young girls frolicking naked in the garden with innocent pagan glee. The Met’s collection features a few classics from Man Ray, Larry Clark, and Robert Mapplethorpe, but it’s these vintage bits that really catch our attention. … Read More
Hollywood stars make getting naked on camera look easy, but many will confess how incredibly uncomfortable or even boring it is to bare all on screen. There are tricks to overcoming this, of course, but for those who haven’t stripped for their audiences before things can get a little tricky. If you’re starring in a hotly anticipated film — like the one that spent three installments pretending their lead stars didn’t actually have genitals — the pressure is really on. This got us thinking about the most awkward nude scenes in cinema. How did the actors and actresses handle being in the buff? Some stars used awkward nudity for comedic effect, while others looked flawless, but felt terrible — and in a few cases, the unpleasant feelings we had were all in our own heads. Still, we wanted to know: did they find the experience as strange to shoot as we did to watch? Find out past the break where we revisit a few naked nightmares. … Read More
Thomas Houseago readily admits to the echoes of early Cubist-style Africanism in his sculptural work for floor, wall, and lawn. Looking at African art through Western-tinted glasses, he shares the Cubist’s appreciation for the psychological symbolism of masks and imposing nudes. The visceral impact of bulbous plaster, choppy wood, and hefty metal readily serves his sophisticated update of a Primitivist aesthetic. But he’s a modern LA artist, after all, who is very aware of all this embedded historical content, and his work is full of winks and nods to its pop culture filter. His new show at L&M Arts in Los Angeles, All Together Now, includes a juggernaut of roughly hewn, totemic figures and abstract landscapes for the contemporary tribalist. … Read More
Miru Kim is fearless. She ventures into places to make her art that most of us would neither enter nor risk arrest to be in: underground tunnels, sewers, abandoned factories, power plants, the tops of bridges and churches. Once she arrives at these hidden and desolate places, Kim explores the setting, finds the best point of view, puts her camera on a tripod, and removes her clothes — in order to take some of the most engaging photographs of the moment.
The nude has a rich history in art, and its use as subject matter is constantly evolving, especially in contemporary photography and video. Spencer Tunick uses naked bodies to create installations of flowing flesh in public places, which he captures in photography and exhibits as prints; Katy Grannan finds her subjects via classified ads and photographs them nude or provocatively clothed in the privacy of their homes and in nature; and Pipilotti Rist puts sensuality center stage in her surreal video fantasies, where fruits, flesh, and flowers merge to create moving… Read More