Art and nudity – familiar bed fellows. They are also two topics which I discussed previously after a BAPS guerilla-style naked photo shoot at the Helmut Newton Foundation, and two topics with which I was, quite frankly, getting rather bored with in Berlin, until a recent visit to my old home of London.
One of my more interesting experiences when I was back on home soil was an art exhibition organised by an initiative called Guerilla Galleries. The show was entitled “100% Nude: An Exhibition of Contemporary Art” featuring over 150 art works focusing on the human form. The twist at the private view: clothes were optional.
Immediately I was interested. Having embraced a relatively new love of nudity (thanks, continental Europe), I was keen to take part in this unusual experience – the work focused on the beauty of the human body, so why not go as nature intended, unhindered by the nuisance of clothes. Guerilla Galleries’ reasoning for this optional nudity was vague, something about challenging boundaries and bringing something fresh and new to the art scene, but all that was of little matter to this thrill seeking arts hack.
Revealing More Than Just Flesh
Bravely I went where most people have never been before…naked into an art exhibition filled with a crowd of people, half of whom were clothed and half of whom were not. In a nutshell, the experience was not a positive one. The gender ratio among naked people was wildly unbalanced, and only approximately 5% (including myself) of the naked audience was female, which was highly ironic as most of the work featured naked women–an age old trend in art history. This in itself made me feel a little uneasy, as did the constant attention from some of the other naked men present, who were unsavoury albeit simple characters at best. Suddenly, the concept didn’t seem such a great idea. Maybe there was a reason private views weren’t usually so private, maybe clothes were kinda cool after-all.
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