Saturday, March 31, 2007

Art Controversy: Too Sweet or Too Nude?

Ilene Skeen prediction (you heard it here first): next Easter there will be a huge market in properly swaddled chocolate figures of Jesus for sale right next to the eggs and the Easter bunnies -- the answer to the headline question, I'm sorry to have to say, is 'too nude.'

NEW YORK (AP) — A planned Holy Week exhibition of a nude, anatomically correct chocolate sculpture of Jesus Christ was canceled Friday amid a choir of complaining Catholics that included Cardinal Edward Egan.

The “My Sweet Lord” display was shut down by the hotel that houses the Lab Gallery in midtown Manhattan, said Matt Semler, the gallery’s creative director. Semler said he submitted his resignation after officials at the Roger Smith Hotel shut down the show.

The six-foot sculpture was the victim of “a strong-arming from people who haven’t seen the show, seen what we’re doing,” Semler said. “They jumped to conclusions completely contrary to our intentions.”

The AP story goes on to tell about Cardinal Edward Egan describing it the sculpture as 'a sickening display' and the hotel receiving angry phone calls, emails and death threats.

To see the original story, click here.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Nude art website announces calendar contest winners for April



New York, NY – March 30, 2007 – Barebrush.com is pleased to announce the results of the eighth calendar contest, April N*des-of-the-Month. Traffic in March approaches 400,000 hits, a 400% increase since December and has exceeded the 1,000,000-hit milestone in 2007. Page views are in excess of 117,000 for 2007 with over 15,000 unique visitors.

The April calendar, comprises 30 artworks (one for each day of the month) by 29 artists. It was selected by guest curator, Mikaela Sardo Lamarche. The calendar is international in scope, including artists from Canada, Mexico, UK, Denmark, Netherlands, Australia, as well as around the US. N*des-of-the-Month April 2007 is in previews for members only and viewable by the public beginning April 1, 2007 at www.barebrush.com....

After she had selected the show, Mikaela said, "The thing that is most striking is the diversity of the responses. These artists are exploring the nude in new and inventive ways. We have a tendency to think, 'well, you've seen one nude, etcetera,' but that wasn't the case at all. It was a real eye-opener. The work is exciting and fresh.”

.... April N*des-of-the-Month artists (with day of the month): Oudi Arroni (11), Deborah Jane Batt (18), Donna Cleary (1), Rene Hinds (30), Kasper Holten (8), William Kaminski (16), Kaya (29), John Woodrow Kelley (21), Francien Krieg (17), Linda Krieg (20), Jean Marcellino (4), Lael Marshall (12), Jacqui Morgan (2), Ephraim Natkins (6), Frank Olesen (22), Irene Hardwick Olivieri (28), H├ęctor Olvera "Etor" (24), Paul Rapoport (9), Joost Remeeus (13), Jon Rettich (10), Jennie Rosenbaum (23), Chanit Roston (5, 26), Anthony Santella (19), Ilene Skeen (3), Suzanne Stacy (14), Nishiki Tayui (15), Randy Thurman (27), Haydee Torres (25), Jerome Witkin (7).

This is a nationwide press release going by web, email & fax to all major news media via Mass Media Distribution. This service is provided by barebrush for the winners of the N*des-of-the-Month calendar contest. Several of the artists are mentioned further in the press release in regards to their art, so don't miss looking at it . To see the complete press release, click here

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Nude Art in College: Faith Versus Knowledge

Op-Ed by Ilene Skeen, barebrush.com

The University of Western Ontario is standing firm in its resolve to require all students who seek to study figurative art to draw and paint the nude figure. A devout Muslim student sought to enroll in figurative art and impel the university to grant credit in the course by drawing her friends clothed instead of the nude models in the class. The Canadian Federation of Students called the action "one of the most egregious stories" of discrimination against Muslim students.

This is probably true -- but the mild-mannered dictum, here's the deal, take it or leave it, your choice, is a clearly western response to matters of conscience. This cannot really be called egregious by any standards of tolerance and welcoming. Compare this to Muslim standards -- beheading figurative artists who draw from the nude would probably be viewed as too humane a punishment in some parts of the Muslim world. Maybe they would be drawn and quartered first (pun intended).

We should applaud the university for taking the moral high ground. Kathleen Okruhlik, UWO's dean of arts and humanities, said the university allows students to do substitute life drawing projects in introductory courses because it is recognized that, if they don't get through the introductory course, they will be barred from going further.

Ms. Okruhlik said she and her academic colleagues have dealt with Christian students who don't want to read Henry Miller (who wrote detailed accounts of sexual experiences) or literature that portrays homosexuality favourably.

"And we say to those students, 'No, we value diversity and plurality, but we also value academic freedom. So if you want to take this course, you have to read the assigned reading,' she said. The same applies to drawing from the nude.

The student brought a letter from the university's Muslim chaplain stating that prolonged exposure to the nude body of a person who was not one's marital partner was contrary to Islamic teaching.

Let the Muslim world come up with a humane response that shows that they tolerate the western practice of opening the mind to the world, to direct observation and personal knowledge of the facts of reality. Let them say how they would treat western artists who sought to study in their countries, but who wanted to pursue and maintain the western traditions and expectations of academic freedom, diversity and plurality. Tell us what they would do in Mecca or Medina to western artists who wanted to draw from the nude. Would they call that punishment egregious or the justice of Allah?

Let's give the Muslim world a chance to be humane and tolerant. Then there would be something worth talking about.

To see the story in the globeandmail.com, click here.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Too Nude -- Apple In Hand Preferred


The image to the left, a promotional image for the upcoming play 'Lulu' at Yale Repretory Theater was rejected by the New York Times and the New Haven Register.

By FRANK RIZZO, Courant Staff Writer (Hartfort, CT)

...."Frank Wedekind's `Lulu' plays were banned when they were published in the late 19th and early 20th centuries," said Jacques Lemarre, associate marketing director for Yale Rep. "As a result, we knew that the image created for our upcoming production needed to be provocative. Director Mark Lamos has said that his production will contain nudity and sexual situations, and Yale Rep's advertisements reflect that content.

...Steph Jespersen, a director of advertising acceptability at The New York Times, said the ad "goes beyond what we accept in nudity in advertising. Everything is a matter of degree."....

"`Lulu' is frankly, about sex, so we knew we wanted to create a bold image that immediately says that," said Scott McKowen of Punch and Judy Inc., the Stratford, Ontario-based graphics company that designed the ad."We anticipated that the image might generate some controversy," he said, "and in an odd way, the image has the same function here as the warning on the poster: `For mature audiences; nudity and sexual situations.' But there is absolutely nothing obscene showing in our image - we have not bared any more skin than the swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated does."

To see the complete article with the image of the apple in hand which was used for the ad, click here.

Friday, March 16, 2007

My Favorite Nude Poll Results at barebrush.com

The results are in for the first ever N*des-of-the-Month poll. The poll is a people's choice for the February 2007 N*des-of-the-Month calendar. The winners (with their day in February) are:

February 2007
1st: Frank Olesen (5)

2nd: Sylvia Henniquin (12)

3rd (tie): Scott Michael (24), Chanit Roston (28)

Honorable Mention (tie):Alex Knowlton (6), Jennie Rosenbaum (7), & Jean Marcellino (10)

Congratulations all!

barebrush.com is a start-up website dedicated exclusively to the art of the nude. Membership on the site is free, and listing art in the "Art Log" on the site for 30 days is also free. A 60-day listing is $1. The N*des-of-the-Month is a virtual juried exhibition of the art selected from the entries in the “Art Log” by a different guest art professional each month. The exhibition is presented on the web in a unique calendar format.

The poll is a new feature to allow all viewers to choose their favorite nude of the month.

And for all those who voted, a big, BIG thank you and round of applause. Your participation helps make barebrush one of the most interesting websites dedicated to the art of the nude.

The poll for March 2007 is on-going now. Be sure to vote for your favorite!

To see the N*des-of-the-Month calendars at barebrush.com, click here.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Art of the Nude: February '07 Poll Closes Tonight

by Ilene Skeen

Vote for your favorite nude art from the barebrush N*des-of-the-Month calendar for February 2007. If you haven't voted yet, today is your last chance. The poll closes tonight at midnight, Eastern Daylight Time.

The poll for the March calendar is still live and will close April 15th. You can vote for your favorite nude on that calendar, too! Enjoy.

For polls, here is the link.

New Discrimination: Adult Nude Statues Covered Up, Child Not

The article is from the Aftenposten Nettutgaven [News from Norway] . What kind of discrimination would this be called? Or did the perpetrator(s) simply run out of black paper?

The famed nude statues that fill the Vigeland Sculpture Park in Oslo were censored overnight.

Early morning strollers in Oslo's famous park on Thursday could note with surprise that someone had taken the time to hang bars of black paper over every sex organ and buttock cleft in the series of statues on the park bridge.

Only the best known figure, the furious child known as Sinnataggen, was allowed to stay uncovered. All other figures on the bridge, regardless of size or what was exposed, were given the black bars usually seen in censored material.

"There is too much nudity in newspapers and magazines, so here on the bridge the limit has been reached!" read a note left behind from the person or persons who used the cover of night to leave this unique editorial statement on one of Norway's best-known tourist landmarks.
Most passersby took the stunt with a smile but some expressed discontent with the lack of respect show to the artist and his works that are so well known.

Since the story broke on the morning radio news city workers rushed out to restore order as quickly as possible.

Matthew Wills found the unexpected task a bit amusing, but admitted that he could have done without the extra assignment so early on a fine spring morning.

To see the original article & pics, click here

Titillating Opportunity

Events calendar, the Georgetown Voice (Washington, DC)

Erotica 2007 – March 16 @ Museum of Contemporary Art, 6 p.m., free Amidst the bland bureaucratic conformity of monuments and federal buildings, the Museum of Contemporary Art offers an titillating alternative. “Erotica 2007,” which began on March 2 and will conclude this Friday, features artists who will paint on the bodies of nude models. If this Friday’s presentation suitably fascinates you, try your hand at creating nude art by entering the museum’s Monumental Nude contest. The top prize of $200 goes to the best photo of one or more nudes featured in, on or around a national monument.

To see the Georgetown Voice, click here

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Nude Art is Apparently Naughty and Nice

by Ilene Skeen for barebrush.com

Last week a painting in Singapore made headlines because the government ministry banned the work from general public viewing on the grounds that nude or erotic artworks "should not be displayed in venues which are easily accessible to general audiences, including children and youth."

This week, the same painting, Fly Into Clouds, by 38-year old China artist Chen Xi, made headlines again. SooBin gallery owner Chua Soon Bin reported that the painting was sold for $60,000 US to a Singaporean collector whose identity was withheld.

The image is of a nude woman covered in soap bubbles with a parrot flying overhead. The painting is 4 meters high and had to be shown sideways in the gallery, but apparently that didn't faze the buyer.

Some people maintain the value is only in the artwork apart from the culture. As a graduate anthropologist, I find it difficult to separate the art from the culture in which was created and into which it becomes the affecting presence. It seems to me that when serious collectors consider purchasing art, controversy appears to be a positive factor.

I have been unable to find an image of the painting on the Internet -- if anyone has come across it, let me know.

Here are other internet sites which have covered this story:

Earthtimes.org
Playfuls.com, Romania


UPDATE: One of our readers supplied this story with a partial visual of the painting, and as she says, "Doesn’t look to be any big deal, of course." Here's the link to a blog called mrwangsaysso. Thanks!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Art News: Call for Entries -- N*des-of-the-Month April 2007 -- from barebrush.com, dedicated to the art of the nude

Deadline March 23. All visual artists are encouraged to submit art of the nude to the barebrush.com for selection by Mikaela Sardo Lamarche, Curator, ACA Galleries, New York, for the April 2007 N*des-of-the-Month exhibition.

New York, NY – March 5, 2007. barebrush.com announces today that Mikaela Sardo Lamarche, curator at ACA Galleries of New York will select and curate the April 2007 N*des-of-the-Month virtual exhibition. The entry deadline for the April 2007 calendar is March 23. Art must be uploaded to barebrush.com on or before March 23 to be eligible for the April exhibition. "I am extremely pleased that Mikaela and ACA Galleries are interested in the barebrush project," says Ilene Skeen, barebrush.com founder and CEO. "ACA has a long history of supporting art of the human condition. Mikaela has a wonderful eye as well as being a terrific person to know. It is a privilege to make this announcement."

About Mikaela Sardo Lamarche and ACA Galleries

ACA Galleries, established in 1932, specializes in 19th and 20th century American Art, Modern and Contemporary paintings, drawings and sculpture including American Impressionism, Stieglitz Circle, Ashcan School, 14th Street School, Regionalism, WPA, American Abstraction, Social Realism and Abstract Expressionism.

Mikaela is responsible for organizing all special thematic and historical exhibitions as well as traveling shows for ACA Galleries. Since 2004 she has curated numerous exhibitions including the first retrospective in over 40 years of the artist, Francis Luis Mora, as well as Continuum: Celebrating the 130th Anniversary of the Art Students League of New York and Masters of Tempera, a survey of 20th century American tempera painters. Currently she has two traveling exhibitions on view; African American Masters at the Morris Museum in Morristown, New Jersey and Jon Schueler: The Sign of the Gale, at the Opalka Gallery of the Sage Colleges in Albany, New York.When asked to provide some insight into her approach to the April calendar, Mikaela wrote,

"For the April exhibition on barebrush.com, I am looking for originality among the individual artists. I would like to see artworks that enlarge the boundaries of the genre and somehow move beyond the classically inspired and stylized nudes that we typically associate with the genre."

To see the complete article, click here