Monday, 19 November 2012

Nude And Rude

A month ago I posted news of the furore created by adverts for the Leopold Museum's exhibition Nude Men (CLICK). Gritting its teeth, BBC News, Vienna, visited the show and has posted The shock of the (male) nude (CLICK). Its photos are coy, which rather defeats the broad-minded approach of the text. Its sauciest photo from the exhibition is Elmgreen & Dragset's Tank Top (2009), a daft desecration of Bertel Thorvaldsen's magnificent sculpture Shepherd Boy and His Dog (1817). The Leopold Museum is not averse to controversy. Back in 2005 it offered free access to naked people for one of its erotic shows (CLICK).


At 20/11/12, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Strange how adding some clothing to that well-known sculpture produces an erotic overtone.

Seems to confirm what naturists often say about total nudity. In itself it is not particularly erotic.

However add some adornment, no matter how little, and the imagination is piqued. Human beings are driven by the curiosity of what might be hidden.

There was an experiment where a clssical male nude had a fig-leaf that could be lifted. What people didn't know until later was that it activated a labelled light bulb in the next exhibition room.

However - even unadorned male statues that the public can touch usually show a different patina in that area.

It would be interesting to wire that modified Sheperd Boy and see what people lifted or touched when thinking themselves unobserved.

At 21/11/12, Blogger Coxsoft Art said...


As a counterpart to their Tank Top, Elmgreen & Dragset also put a pair of underpants on Thorvaldsen's Jason with the Golden Fleece. It would be interesting to see how many people took a peek inside those pants.

I'm reminded that one of our great art institutions created a fig leaf for one of its naked male statues to spare Queen Victoria's blushes when she visited the gallery. But she wasn't as prudish as people supposed. When I visited Osbourne House on the Isle of Wight, many years ago, I saw a statuette of a naked man with an erection!

At 26/11/12, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Osborne House also appears to have a parian of John Gibson's "Narcissus" without a fig leaf. That is interesting as all but one of the Copeland production run for the Art Union of London had fig leaves. The naked exception was one retained by E B Stephens who created the original parian model.


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