Sunday, July 21, 2013

July 21, 2013: Nude Body Painting Near Central Park

Date: July 21, 2013
Event: Body Painting
Location:  New York City (near Central Park)
Cost: FREE
Summary: The human body is beautiful; this artist uses it as a canvas...(also, let's be honest, who can deny the draw of seeing someone nude in public?)

Last year I saw this artist, Andy Golub, do body painting in Times Square.  Nude body painting.  It was wonderful all around -- the painting itself that was laid down on the model's skin, the atmosphere of creating what really was a bit of a spectacle, the various reactions from the people in the crowd from aghast to leering to enthralled to giggly, and just the feeling of freedom that surrounded it all.

I became a fan.

And I knew I wanted to see him perform again.  I missed him a week earlier but was happy to see that he'd be performing today (July 21) on the corner of 5th Ave and 60th St (essentially one of the corners of Central Park).

The experience was so, so different than in Times Square!  Whereas in Times Square a crowd gathered and watched; there was a constant circle of people looking on.  But in this location?  People seemed to not know what to do...they looked, their eyes widened, they laughed, they grabbed the person they were with and pointed, they might take a few pictures, and then they moved on.  Very few people stayed to watch for any length of time, and rarely was there much of a crowd.

Further, there were problems with the Central Park police (unlike Times Square where the police hovered at the background but never interfered).  It appeared that the Central Park cops didn't like the performance.  At all.  And they made Andy Golub (the artist) and the model move off of official Park property after about an hour.

I was torn -- on the one hand, what Mr. Golub was doing was legal (he's had several legal battles with the city which were decided in his favor from what I gather) and he'd notified City Hall of his performance ahead of time.  On the other hand, Times Square (as opposed to the entrance to the Central Park zoo) does seem like a more appropriate place for this kind of performance.  The model, after all, was nude.  I could go on and on about this but it's not really the point so I'll just settle on, I could see both sides of the argument.  I'll also just say that I didn't like how the original park police officer on scene handled the situation, but the Sergent that eventually asked the artist and model to go was utterly professional about it.

Anyway, Mr. Golub simply moved over to outside the Apple store (which for some reason just made me giggle -- this nude painted guy and an artist working right outside this super geeky nerdy place -- it was kind of perfect in that way).  And even there, people would walk by on the sidewalk and gawk and stop for a picture (usually with an iPhone, of course, adding to the perfectness of it) but, again, a crowd didn't really gather.

Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed watching this performance.  Again, there was this feeling of liberation and freedom by osmosis almost, via this model's nudity.  I heard more than one person voice their admiration for what he (the model) was doing.  And every comment I heard was positive.  There was nothing sexual about this performance, nothing salacious.  It was just art, with the human body as an integral part of that art.

Pictures below... there are one or two that do have male nudity.  Nothing you wouldn't see by looking at pictures of Greek statues, however!


So it began --
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Ouch!  But Mr. Golub was very careful to avoid getting paint in it.
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Then after getting a certain amount of painting done, it was time to get rid of the clothes and bring on the rest of the paint... (the guy on the bench in the background appears totally unimpressed by the whole thing, lol)
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Also, I'm just going to put this out there... at this same location are these massive statues of two men bound together with rope under a single coat...on three pegs.  I mean, what?!:
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They are creepy.  They're CREEPY!  And scary.  (and kinda ugly). And...and... and next to them, this tiny little silver nude model is far far less objectionable in my opinion!
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Now, here are just a few of the passers by -- they seemed mostly confused.  My favorite was the tour bus that went by and seeing all the heads one-by-one turn, heh.
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Awww, then Park Police came to break up the performance.  Bummer...  But it was peaceful, at least.
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But the new location was awesome in its own way -- more chaotic which was fitting for NYC.  For instance, I love everything about this picture: all the food carts, the people in the background, the model responding to some noise, the artist going about his business...it's all perfect
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And, as I said, being outside the Apple store was just kind of a wonderful juxtaposition, too
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Of course, besides just enjoying the whole performance and the reactions of people who stumbled upon it, I also enjoyed the artistic challenge of photographing this; the beauty of the art itself, the colors, the creative process, like HOWL it was the creation of something out of nothing.
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How about our model striking a few poses...
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And those poses were, again, just part of the freedom of it all.  I would love to have the guts to do that.  I don't, but as I said in the summary, I got to experience a small part of it through this young man, standing on a sidewalk as the chaos of NYC moved around him.
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I can't wait until the next performance.  :)

4 comments:

  1. I enjoyed reading and looking at your photos. Were these taken before 2pm?
    I stumbled upon him painting a second model on 5th ave and 60th or 61st street after 2pm. I will post my photos soon.

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  2. Hi! Yes, these were taken before 2:00 pm; they were mostly from 11:00 am until 1:00 or 1:30. I think another model was showing up when I was leaving. Would have enjoyed seeing two models for sure -- maybe next time I'll be there for that! :)

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