Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Liu Bolin - Human Chamaleon

Amazing creativity and artistry that never fails to surprise. Take a look.

You can see a solo exhibition of Bolin's work at the Eli Klein Fine Art Gallery in New York Jun 29 – Aug. 28, 2011.

Read more:


Monday, June 27, 2011

Human Installation I "Gender Obsolescence" Performance art by Kyrahm + Julius Kaiser

Human Installation I "Gender Obsolescence" Performance art by Kyrahm + Julius Kaiser from KYRAHM on Vimeo.

Raphael Perez - Gay Paintings

It seems appropriate to feature a gay artist after the Pride day and New York's approval of gay marriage. And a gay artist that I really enjoy seeing in my flickr contacts is Raphael Perez from Israel.

According to his Flickr profile: "Raphael Perez is the first Israeli artist to express his lifestyle as a Gay. His life and the life of the LGBT community are connected and unfold over hundreds of artwork pieces."

Gay love couple dancing

"The subjects of the paintings are the everyday life of couples in everyday places and situations, along with the aspiration to a homosexual relationship and family, equality and public recognition. Perez's works bring forward to the cultural space and to the public discourse the truth about living as LGBT and about relationships, with all of their aspects – casual relationships and sex, the yearning for love, the everyday life and the mundane activities that exist in every romantic relationship – whether by describing two men in an intimate scene in the bathroom, the bedroom or the toilet, a male couple raising a baby or the homosexual version of the Garden of Eden, family dinners, relationship ups and downs, the complexity in sharing a life as well as mundane, everyday life competing with the aspiration to self realization – through Perez's life."

Men kissing and dancing on Tel Aviv building

I particularly enjoy his "naive paintings", so full of color, innocence (even in erotic situation) and simple mindedness of pure love vibrating in the form of flying hearts all around. I find them cheerful and extremely happy.

He also works in more realistic styles with great talent, and his flickr photostream is also splashed with photographs, whether of models in his studio, self nudes, self photos next to his artwork and other pieces that make the artist available and human to the public, and not just a name and a signature in his artwork.

Man on bed



Soldiers parade

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Steven Tynan - A photographer of self nudes

A few years ago the gentleman running the selfportrait gallery blog (which is still up, but has not been updated in a long time now) learned about some of my selfportraits and asked if I would donate one to his gallery. During our interaction he said that some of my work reminded him of Steven Tynan.

Not knowing who Steven Tynan was, I obviously ran a search and found his website. Steven is a professor of photography with an extense body of work in nude selfportraits.

Steven poses in the nude in several indoor and outdoor locations, in what would look like a house or farm. Sometimes he is only partially clothed, as if he was a child in the act of being mischievius. Sometimes he's riding a tricycle, or laying down on the field, or playing with toys (a ball, a dinosaur), working out or dancing. In a few photos he is actually urinating against a wall or in the grass, or even holding his penis, not unlike a baby that finds his penis and just holds it with curiosity. In some of the photos there is a dog or some cows.

His expression is often dry, emotionless, as if he was silently questioning the camera or the beholder. Steven is what you would consider an average looking man, not a supermodel type of person. Bulky, with rough expressions, mid aged. He never tries to look sexy or desirable in the photos. He just happens to be there, he just happens to not have clothes on, or to have his pants all the way down or things like that.

My appreciation of his work is that beyond the normal looking man, there is a child who once was told that it was not appropriate to walk naked outside the house or in front of his peers, and in being told so he was "stripped" from his nudity, stripped from his "innocence". He learned that he had to dress, like Adam and Eve did when expelled from the Garden of Eden. But once the child is no longer a child, once he becomes a proper adult, there is a rebellion, a longing to claim that right that he once had to not care, to be innocent, to walk naked here or there just for the hell of it, and so he tries to claim that right, that feeling once again, and in doing so, he questions the camera and the beholder with his eyes, which seem to be asking: "is this alright? does it matter that I'm naked?"

Some of his photos seem a bit more disturbing. In some of them there is an expression that I can't quite read. Is it anger, pain, or orgasm? Is he rebelling or punishing himself? His muscles are tense, his eyes closed, his face and neck distressed. I lean to believe it is the pain of shedding the social conditioning, it's anger at the loss of innocence. There's nothing else in his work that could suggest sexuality, so I find it hard to think that this expression could be of sexuality, but I'm reminded that as in Queen's song, "pain is so close to pleasure".

Finally, one last element of disturbance, at least from the point of view of our social conditioning, is the presence of a child in some of the photos. I would assume it's his son. The child is usually aside, clothed and unconcerned about the actions of the man. There's nothing inappropriate going on, as long as we assume that there is nothing wrong with a child witnessing the non-sexual nudity of a parent.

In a way, the presence of that child speaks of internal loneliness. Perhaps the only person who has no problem accepting the nudity of the adult (who was once a child) is the child (and perhaps the dog as well), the only one who doesn't see any mistery or any wrong connotation of shame or vulgarity into his actions. Perhaps that child is there to remind us of that innocence, that both the artist and we, the spectators, forgot a long time ago, when we learned that being naked was shameful and that we had to conceal our bodies behind fabric to be allowed in society.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Robert Mapplethorpe

One of my favorite photographers is Robert Mapplethorpe. I learned about Mapplethorpe when a friend artist needed a model in order to emulate some of Mapplethorpe's photos for his photography class.

I like about Mapplethorpe his unashamed expression of sexuality. His careful compositions and precise lighting, which joins sacred and profane. Being a Polaroid junkie, I love how he used Polaroid. From flowers to celebrities, from simple nudes to S&M scenes.

In the words of Patti Smith:

Robert [Mapplethorpe] was not a voyeur. He always said that he had to be authentically involved with the work that came out of his S&M pursuits, that he wasn't taking pictures for the sake of sensationalism, or making it his mission to help the S&M scene become more socially acceptable. He didn't think it should be accepted, and he never felt that his underground world was for everybody. [...]

He was no longer using magazine images, just models and himself to produce visuals of self-inflicted pain. I admired him for it, but I could not comprehend the brutality. It was hard for me to match it with the boy I had met.

And yet when I look at Robert's work, his subjects are not saying, Sorry, I have my cock hanging out. He's not sorry and doesn't want anybody else to be. He wanted his subjects to be pleased with his photographs, whether it was an S&M guy shoving nails in his dick or a glamorous socialite.

Patti Smith - Just Kids

Portrait of Andy Warhol

Portrait of Arnold Schwarzenegger

Portrait of Patti Smith

This iconic photo seems to be a reference to an old photo by Von Gloeden

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Urbanudismo - Paula Brindisi

Urbanudismo started a few years ago when the Argentinian model Avril X (Paula Brindisi) decided to see what would happen if she was to cross a centric avenue. Nude.

Of course there were all kinds of reactions, which were promptly recorded in video, and the action itself was documented through video and photography.

As she wrote on her (no longer active) website, and her (currently active) blog:

"Me despierto recordando el repetido sueño en el que, sin saberlo, salgo desnuda o semi desnuda fuera de casa..." (I wake up remembering the repeated dream in which, unknowingly, I leave home nude or seminude...)

Was this performance art or gratuitous nudity? A short cut to fame or an ethic debate?

Several such "performances" followed in several countries, by Paula and by others who joined her "urbanudismo". Once again her words:

"Busco y encuentro quienes hacen realidad este sueño, se destapan junto a mí y capturan esos momentos y las reacciones que en la gente genera el hecho de ver a alguien haciendo lo mismo, pero sin taparse. Como todos por la ciudad, pero desnudos..." (I seek and I find those who make this dream reality, they bare next to me and they capture those moments and the reactions of people seeing somebody doing the same, but uncovered. Like everyone else in the city, but naked.)

According to the blog, Paula is currently in the process of publishing a book with photos that document the years of Urbanudismo.

As someone who dealt a lot with self-image issues, I really enjoyed seeing Urbanudism develop and evolve. People take for granted our clothes-based society and quite often ignore or forget where we came from, what we are. Nudity makes everyone equal, but put one nude person in a crowd and everyone will turn and stare, disgusted or enjoying but they will look. And that's what makes this kind of performance art relevant. Take the body out of the museum, out the bedroom, out of the shower and out of the doctor's office, lay it there in the middle of the street, under the sun. Most people will ask "why?", but there are some of us who will just say "why not?". If there's anything shocking about what we are, shouldn't we examine ourselves and start embracing the totality of ourselves?

Okay, too much ethics, too much philosophy or psychology. I hope you enjoyed this and all the other entries of my blog.

Urbanudismo in Blogger:

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

William Wegman

I first heard about William Wegman in a Polaroid forum, where they referred to him as the artist that took Polaroid photos of Weimaraner dogs. Such a statement would be an over simplification of a complex and deep artist.

I went to his website. After a short visit all I knew was that I wanted to buy something from his store, I wasn't sure what but I loved everything that I was seeing.

Let me start by the medium. Yes he was shooting polaroid photos, but not your regular polaroid that you could (at that time) get film for at your corner pharmacy. No, William was using one of the few Polaroid 20x24 cameras, an impressive creation from 1978 that shoots photos on 20x24 inch instant film. This camera has been used by such diverse artists as Andy Warhol, Spencer Tunick, Lady Gaga and many many others. The camera per se is a very impressive object... and to this day, it remains in use in select locations such as the 20x24 studio in New York - see links at the end of the entry.

Photo taken from

Then, the photos themselves, were far from simple photos of pets. William Wegman has been experimenting with his dogs as models/muses from the late 70s, and his dogs have become experienced and willing models in the creative process. Let's let a couple of photos from his books speak for themselves.

For those who had the pleasure of growing up watching Sesame Street, these dogs might look a bit familiar. William Wegman has also created films, including several segments for Sesame Street.

I have in my collection two of his books.



Fashion Photographs

How could I resist them? I've been to an exhibit of some of his polaroids at a local museum. It was a great time.


Online store:



Also, as reference, the 20x24 studio on



Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Dan Lacey, the Painter of Pancakes

I first heard of Dan Lacey when he posted some of his art to the wft_art community in LiveJournal. It was certainly fitting artwork: nude Obama and Penelope the unicorn? Pancakes?

Obama Unicorn / Oddysey Dawn

Yeah, art can have humor and strange obsessions. Looking at Dan Lacey's work I see both things, humor and obsessions. Celebrities (with pancakes). No more pancakes for Osama Bin Laden. Political statements. Symbols. Eroticism. I can say I'm becoming a fan and look forward to each new post, whether in LJ, blogspot or facebook, and upcoming auctions on eBay.

My personal favorite so far has been a portrait of a nude man looking for a cat under the bed.

Male nude on bed looking for cat