A fad seems to be emerging in the art world for daubing paint on the skin of naked women. The artists who are doing it (most of them men) say a woman’s body makes a far more interesting canvas than paper or board. Maybe so, but it’s rather less easy to frame a woman and hang her up on your wall. The most an enthusiastic collector could hope for is a good long inspection followed by some snaps for the photo album.
The latest exponent of this technique is a fellow called Andy Golub, who spent last summer painting volunteers on the streets of New York City. After being charged with “public lewdness”, he was allowed to continue with his work on condition that his models kept their G-strings on until nightfall. A fair compromise, I would say. For all its brash in-your-faceness, the Big Apple isn’t ready for beavers in broad daylight. Even I sometimes get a peculiar taste in my mouth after seeing them in humid conditions.
As with all art forms, there are radical pioneers pushing at the boundaries. A performance artist called Marni Kotak recently gave birth in a New York art gallery, claiming her delivery was “the highest form of art”. The critics were suitably impressed:
“I feel the entire audience accomplished this together with Marni using their commonly created positive energy,” declared Katherine Hybenova, editor of the Bushwick Daily.
I wonder what they did to make her feel their positive energy. I would have sung a gentle yet uplifting tune, like She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain. On second thoughts, I would have hummed it – a woman in labour shouldn’t be distracted with fatuous lyrics.
Araceli Cruz of the Village Voice arrived shortly after the birth to find Marni “calmly eating a banana”. You have to admire the devotion of an artist who continues to perform for her public after the exhibition is over. When I left the ring in my circus career, I scratched my armpits and buggered off quickly. Any bananas were eaten in the privacy of my trailer.
I have to admit I’m in two minds about Marni’s nativity performance. A human infant squeezing out of its mother’s birth canal is certainly an amazing spectacle that rivals the special effects in Alien or similar movies. But shouldn’t the baby have a say on whether it’s displayed covered in yucky goo, bawling its head off with a horrible tube sticking out of its navel? I wouldn’t want to be gawked at by New York avant-gardistes in such an undignified condition.
A photograph of Marni in the final days of her gestation is displayed below for my curious readers. Rarely have I seen such a prime specimen of luscious womanhood. I printed out a copy for my females, who immediately pestered me to invite her to the Congo in their eagerness to massage her thighs and buttocks. There was nothing remotely sexual about their request. We gorillas are broad-minded apes who appreciate firm flesh from whatever quarter, particular the hindquarters.
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