“Cops like looking at naked people” -New York Times.
We live in the age of online porn & voluminous fashion mags filled with scantily clad, underage, topless girls, made to look thrice their age, photo shopped and posed in fake gal-on-gal lesbian scenes with legs spread. Call me a prude- I actually find this somewhat obscene.
So is a nude woman standing in a gallery window as part of an art exhibit newsworthy? I don’t see how, except to promote the artist, engage the viewer, and support the show. But NYT’s article fails to address Reed in any detail and focus mainly on the nude as a spectacle.
Independent curator Laura Roulet writes eloquently of Mr Reeds work:
Art of such extraordinary vitality springs from an extraordinary life. Though only twenty-five years old, Reed has already experienced tragedies of epic proportions. Overcoming the death of his father, serious illness of his mother, and his own near-death experience no doubt explains, at least in part, Reed’s spiritual exuberance. A work such as the panel “Heart Venom” captures his bittersweet experience of life so far….His use of found materials with both personal history and metaphorical meaning activates the work beyond its surface appearance. Love and nature are revealed in multiple dimensions. This melding of materials culled from his environment with ritual uses adopted from various cultures is the hallmark of Reed’s artistic practice….Reed approaches all cultures with a pantheistic fervor, with a mission to connect universalisms in all cultures across all time through his art. He currently studies with Afro-American scholar Robert Farris Thompson and pre-Columbian expert Mary Miller at Yale University. This exposure has led to his adoption of the West African Kongo nkisi as the basis for a sculptural series of weighty locust wood staffs embellished with materials ranging from bottle caps, corks, time pieces, pom-poms, glitter, nails, barbed wire, bells to shells. Ranging in mood from festive to menacing, each staff contains the colors, textures or symbolic materials required to summon a particular spirit…
Love. Nature. Spirit. Metaphor. None of this is “covered” by the Times article. Bodies are unclothed in front of art students and working artists. The human body is what we are. It is the sacred vessel that moves us through the world. I’d like to think we can occasionally celebrate this without making light the of the model, or artist. I’d like to think it’s possible for the American public to not abhor the sight of an real live naked person. Our country’s colonial, puritanical origins and commercial media’s knack of distorting the female form is just plain hypocritical. And seriously creepy to me in a “you can’t tell the Cylons from the Humans in the new BSG series” kind of way.
The NYT nudity did catch my eye. It got me to read their “cops like looking at naked people” quote. Maybe it will get people to Mr. Reeds show. Excuse me now but I have to go stand in the window.
NYT article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/26/nyregion/26naked.html
Artist, Brian Reed, link here: http://www.brianreedimages.net/
Gallery, Chair and the Maiden, link here: http://chairandthemaiden.com/
“Through the Heart of it All” by Brian Reed
Showing from Feb 18-March 21, 2010
Chair and the Maiden Gallery, NYC