Tuesday, February 27, 2007

World Wide Naked Art Frenzy


N*des-of-the-Month for March 2007 on barebrush.com: 28 artists, 31 artworks selected by guest curator, Bob Hogge. Website hits in 2007 exceed 600,000 with 70,000+ page views.

New York, NY – February 27, 2007 – Site traffic continues to grow and takes on an international flavor as website, barebrush.com announced N*des-of-the-Month March 2007, its seventh virtual calendar and art show. Chelsea gallery director, Bob Hogge, of Monkdogz Urban Art curated the show of 28 artists working in NY, around the US and in Canada, Mexico, UK, Denmark, Netherlands, New Zealand and Thailand. Over 60 artists submitted more than 350 entries. N*des-of-the-Month March 2007 is in previews to members only and viewable by the public beginning March 1, 2007 at www.barebrush.com ....

When asked what he thought of the selection process for the calendar, Bob said:

“You know, you can always second guess yourself. If I went back again, I might choose differently. There was so much great work – it was difficult and you can’t second guess yourself, you just have to go with it.”

“This calendar is very strong, very impressive. Bob’s selection is outstanding and I’m grateful for his energy and enthusiasm,” answers Ilene Skeen. “I know it is getting more and more difficult for the curators to be able to chose the art....

To view the entire press release, click here

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Women through the ages

Bodies and Souls challenges conventional images of women

A review by Renée Stephen
The Independent Voice [www.independentvoice.ca]

Frank Cordelle’s Bodies and Souls: The Century Project (ISBN 978-0-9730270-3-7) has toured art galleries, colleges and universities, and even churches in the USA and Canada for many years. The photographic project showcases women from the moment of birth to the age of 94, all nude, and all unique. In November the project was published in Canada as a book, and the result is now for sale in most major bookstores....

When writing this review, I asked whether or not we should include pictures of naked women in Independent Voice. What will our readers think? Heck, what will our advertisers think? Part of the answer to that question is easy: our mandate as a progressive paper is to publish things the mainstream won’t. In 1996, Calgary Herald publisher Ken King refused to include an issue of Saturday Night magazine as an insert to his newspaper, because it included naked pictures of an 80-year-old woman. Even though Saturday Night had run pictures of full nudity in the past, the women then had been young, not old. Sibby is 82. Why not publish her picture?

To see the complete review, click here. Worth reading, plus it also includes the picture of Nora, 12, which inflamed the controversy at the Whig-Standard, covered in the barebrush Art News & Events in the entry just previous to this one.

To see Ms. Stephen's letter to editor of the Whig-Standard, click here

Frank Cordelle's picture of Sibby, 82 is in the barebrush Art Log

Friday, February 23, 2007

Confusing Nudity with Sexual Immorality

Picture stirs debate
Paper published nude photo of girl

The Whig-Standard Local News [Kingston, Ontario]

By Kate Harper

A newspaper’s decision to publish a picture of a naked 12-year-old girl may have raised some eyebrows, but there’s nothing illegal about photographing children without their clothes.

While some people were offended by the photographs accompanying a book review in the February 2007 issue of Kingston’s Independent Voice, child pornography expert Det. Const. Warren Bulmer of the Toronto Police Service said a photo is only considered pornographic if it depicts something “explicitly sexual.”

If it does not, and is more of a full-body shot, it’s deemed child erotica, which is legal, he said. The photo is taken from Frank Cordelle’s book Bodies and Souls: The Century Project. It is a collection of photographs of women of different ages, from newborn to 94, without clothing.

....The book’s publisher, Paul Rapoport of Heureka Productions, said everyone in the book – including the children – were asked for their permission before the photos were taken.

“People are confusing nudity with sexual immorality,” Rapoport said.

“We have a lot of situations in North America where one person complains, and thousands more don’t, but there’s still a big uproar over it,” said Rapoport. Rapoport also said since the book is meant to be about development through all stages of life, it “cannot pretend that life begins at the age of 18.”

....Dr. Irwin Altrow, a doctor of psychiatry at the Providence Continuing Care Centre’s Mental Health Unit, worried publishing the photo in a community newspaper could be dangerous.

“That picture could be a trigger for a person who’s got a sexual attraction to children or adolescents,” Altrow said. “I can’t see how it would reduce somebody’s likelihood of sex offences against a child. It may only increase it.”

To see the complete article, click here

To Dr. Altrow, I would rejoin that his lack of vision does not constitute evidence that defusing the mystery of the child physique enflames sexual perverts rather than douses their fantasies. There are good arguments for the opposite view: that the forbidden, hidden and imagined body is more sexually inflamatory than the openly presented one. (IS)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Muslim Art Students -- The Nude Arguments Drawn Out

Should Muslim art students be exempt from life drawing classes because of their religious beliefs? We previously noted this controversy published by The Gazette, the student newspaper at the University of Western Ontario. Now there is follow-up. Letters to the editor reflect the complexity of this view, and Dr. Paul Rapaport who is a member of barebrush contributed:

To the Editor:

I will play the skeptic about this need for compromise to exempt Muslim art students from life drawing classes. Is nudity proscribed in Islam? Or do people only say it is? Is nudity proscribed in Christianity? Or do people only say it is?

Muslim students claiming nudity is “against their religion” aren’t new. Others have confused sexual immorality with the unclothed human body in an art class or at a nudist camp or beach.

In art schools, are exceptions made everywhere for Christians who are squeamish about nude art or nude models? No. Then there must be no exceptions for others claiming to follow a particular religion. If students don’t want to confront nudity, they have two options: don’t study art or study it in an Islamic country.

In Frank Cordelle’s internationally acclaimed book Bodies and Souls are photos of two Muslim women completely naked plus (importantly) their statements about their bodies and their lives. Meanwhile, Muslim cab drivers in Minneapolis now refuse to give rides to anyone emerging from the airport carrying a bottle of

In the end, Western’s issue isn’t one of religion but of claims about religion and the resulting cultural politics. Western shouldn’t place wrong assumptions ahead of right ones, nor base academic policy on religious claims when they’re disruptive and damaging.

Dr. Paul Rapoport
Professor (Emeritus)
School of the Arts
McMaster University

To see the other letters to the editor at the Gazette, click here. To see the original post of this issue at barebrush, click here

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Sale of Nude Sculpture Signals "Arrival"

African-American Art Arrives
Courtesy of Artfact.com 02.14.07, 12:01 AM ET

Last week, a rare sculpture by African-American artist Elizabeth Catlett sold to a private buyer at Swann Galleries in New York City for the impressive price of $120,000. This puts the artist in the league of some of her more famous African-American contemporaries.

Catlett, now 92 years old and living in Mexico, has had a long and productive career as a sculptor and printmaker. She was deeply involved in social justice and women’s rights issues, and her work centers on these themes. "Nude Torso," a wood sculpture, is small in size--just 13 inches tall--but commanding in presence.

To see the complete article in Forbes, click here

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Full frontal nudity goes mainstream

by Paul Rapoport
Special to barebrush.com

It's not bad for a book by an American that couldn't be published in the USA. Frank Cordelle's Bodies and Souls: The Century Project, published in Canada last November, is now featured in one of America's most popular magazines: Oprah Winfrey's O Magazine.

The March issue, which hit the newsstands today, contains a whole page devoted to Cordelle's book. More importantly, the images of four naked women, three of them full-frontal, are large, in color, and completely uncensored.

Under the heading "The Naked Truth," the magazine commentary notes with insight:

"Don't cover your eyes. The women who appear in Bodies and Souls: The Century Project (Heureka Productions) want you to see them---really see them---in all their naked humanity."
This may be the first time that nudity of American individuals has appeared so boldly in a mainstream American magazine. The women pictured in O Magazine are aged 24, 45, 56, and 94.

Is this an exception, or is it the beginning of a revolution in how we understand the naked body?

Click here for the link to O Magazine

Friday, February 09, 2007

Islam and Figurative Art -- What Compromise?

Mastering the art of compromise

Editorial, The Gazette, University of Western Ontario.

Several Muslim students in Western’s visual arts program face a conflict of interest between their religious beliefs and some art-course requirements.

Particularly, “life drawing” — drawing live nude models — flies in the face of these students’ devotion to Islam. In the past, students could negotiate alternative arrangements with their professors. But a year and a half ago the arts department added a note to course descriptions warning students about courses that include life drawing. Anyone enrolling in a course featuring life drawing is expected to participate in all assignments and will fail if they refuse....

While artists and art professors might contend life drawing is an engaging process and crucial to supplement other requisite skills, there must be a way to develop such skills without infringing on students’ religious beliefs....

Respecting religious beliefs is obviously a top priority in the university’s mandate; all students deserve to feel comfortable in their learning environments. However, university is about broadening one’s horizons and keeping an open mind to all cultures and all disciplines, including those reflected in visual art. That’s what makes university education special....

To read the entire editorial, click here

The article calls for a compromise, but doesn't give any hints on what compromise could or would be possible. If you'd like to add some thoughts on this topic, see the barebrush network, cultural controversies.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A Yarn about Nude Art -- See it here

The barebrush post about the crocheted nude controversy brought a nice response the film's creator, Brandon Bloch. He has kindly allowed barebrush to show his deilightful and informative video.

Art of the Nude -- Century Project Exhibition Opens Feb.19

Frank Cordelle, the author and photographer of the Century Project contacted barebrush based on the review. For those of you in the area, the next exhibition of the Century Project is at Colgate University, February 19-24. For further information on this exhibit and the accompanying lectures and workshops, contact Nancy Orth, 315-228-7750.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Why Ancient Greeks are Always Nude

This article appeared on the internet several days ago and was sent by a member to barebrush.

Male nudes are the norm in Greek art, even though historians have stated that ancient Greeks kept their clothes on for the most part. New research suggests that art might have been imitating life more closely than previously thought.

Nudity was a costume used by artists to depict various roles of men, ranging from heroicism and status to defeat.

"In ancient Greek art, there are many different kinds of nudity that can mean many different things," said Jeffrey Hurwit, an historian of ancient art at the University of Oregon. "Sometimes they are contradictory."

Hurwit's newly published research shows that the Greeks did walk around in the buff in some situations. Men strode about free of their togas in the bedroom and at parties called symposia, where they would eat, drink and carouse. Nudity was also common on the athletic fields and at the Olympic games. (Because there are so many images of Greek athletes, some lay people have assumed the Greeks were in their birthday suits all the time.)

Battling nudity

However, nudity was often risky for the Greeks.

"Greek males, it is generally agreed, did not walk around town naked, they did not ride their horses naked, and they certainly did not go into battle naked," Hurwit said. "In most public contexts, clothing was not optional, and in combat nakedness was suicidal."

Warriors and heroes are often, but not always, represented in the nude. Artists demonstrated the physical prowess men used to defeat their enemies. But, as Hurwit said, if you can go into battle naked, you've got to be pretty good.

However, heroes weren't the only men disrobed by ancient artists.

Here's looking at you

Hurwit's research, published in the Jan. issue of the American Journal of Archaeology, also found examples of defeated, dying and dead naked men. In these cases, nudity was chosen to represent the subjects' vulnerabilities.

Meanwhile, common laborers were also drawn undressed, illustrating their sweat and muscles to show how hard they worked. Gods and people of higher social class were sometimes--but not always--depicted in the buff to demonstrate their place in society.

Hurwit's research of these nuances of Greek art also offers a glimpse into the cultural source of our civilization today.

"We can try to understand ourselves and our conception of what it means to be a hero and to exceed normal expectations," Hurwit told LiveScience. "The more we know about other cultures, the deeper we will be able to understand our own culture and ourselves."

Monday, February 05, 2007

Art News: Call for Entries -- N*des-of-the-Month March 2007 -- Volume records shattered as barebrush.com goes international

Deadline February 20. All visual artists are encouraged to submit art of the nude to the barebrush.com for selection by Robert Hogge, director of Monkdogz Urban Art Gallery for the March 2007 N*des-of-the-Month exhibition.

New York, NY – February 5, 2007. barebrush.com announces today that Robert Hogge, director of Monkdogz Urban Art Gallery, and the Monkdogz creative team will select and curate the March 2007 N*des-of-the-Month virtual exhibition. The entry deadline for the March 2007 calendar is February 20. Art must be uploaded to barebrush.com on or before February 20 to be eligible for the March exhibition. Traffic at barebrush.com continues to mount as the site is now averaging over 9,000 hits per day.

When asked about what he will be looking for at barebrush, Bob wrote:

The nude’s relevance to the history and future of art.
Could be compared to the essential need of oxygen and water to mankind.
In this arena both of the above statements share a common purpose. Keeping the human body alive.

Monkdogz Urban Art Gallery is an International platform designed to showcase
artists from around the globe based on their commitment, talent, imagination,
and the integrity of their work. What I am looking for in evaluating work:
Excellence in structure and imagination.

To read the entire call for entries, more about Bob Hogge with a link to the Monkdogz Urban Art Gallery, click here

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Their Naked Selves

Frank Cordelle. Bodies and Souls: The Century Project. Heureka Productions. 2006. 224 pp. Photographs: 53 color, 45 b & w. ISBN 0-9730270-3-7 $39.95.

Twenty-five years ago, Frank Cordelle began an extraordinary mission: to photograph “ordinary” females, aged from birth to 100, presenting their attitudes about their naked selves. This book is his stunning result.

In the forward, Naomi Weinshenker, M.D., introduces the issues: American society venerates physical perfection, but many women live with the physical and emotional effects of rape, abuse, anorexia, bulimia, obesity, self-mutilation, or disfigurement from mastectomy or other surgeries. Some are profoundly troubled, some shy, tentative, and yet others are confident and happy. The photographs and text make it evident that the happiest women are those who have come to terms with who they are, outside and in.

Cordelle provides a thoughtful background essay on the origin and effects of his work. Also included is an exhibition chronology.

The book is compelling. For women, it shows that they are not alone. For men, it strips away the pretense of women as objects. For adolescents of both genders, it can perhaps make the greatest contribution: helping them transition to mature adulthood, body and soul. Highly recommended.

Ilene Skeen
New York, NY

Friday, February 02, 2007

Save the Date: Feb 15th -- ON THE HOOK: How Aesthetics Meets Economics for NY Art Dealers.

Women in the Arts has invited Ilene Skeen, founder and CEO of barebrush.com to give a talk on her year-long art-related anthropology project: ON THE HOOK: How Aesthetics Meets Economics for NY Art Dealers.

The project focused particularly on the Chelsea art pheonomenon in the context of the larger NY art world. It included in-depth and casual interviews, gallery openings, tours and visits as well as an intense 6-month gallery internship. Ilene will talk about her observations and conclusions and what all visual artists can learn and do based on these observations.

These foundation of barebrush.com was a direct outgrowth of this research.

February 15, 2007, 7:30 pm
Salmagundi Club (Lower Gallery)
47 Fifth Avenue (@ 12th Street)
New York City

The Salmagundi Club was founded in 1871 and is at home in a landmarked brownstone in Greenwich Village. Dinner is served from 6:00 pm to members, guests and those attending Club functions. Reservations are required for dinner.

Women in the Arts is a long-time arts organization, founded in the 1970's to protest the artworld's discrimination against women artists and to fight for more opportunities for women artists. For further information about Women in the Arts, contact Estelle Levy: 212-749-5492.