Although it seems that museums no longer have any kind of dress code these days, a young woman recently fell foul of the requirement to at least be wearing, like, something. A story in the UK’s Guardian newspaper tells the tale of woe of Kathleen “KC” Neill, who was arrested and charged with public lewdness for posing nude for photographer Zach Hyman in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Hyman is making a collection of photographs of nudity in New York’s public spaces (check out images of gob-smacked commuters gazing at gorgeous naked models on the New York subway, captured by photographer Clint Spauling).
Iknow New York has the reputation for crazies, but for precisely this reason, this project seems to lack thrill factor, which is probably why it didn’t make much of a stir in the local press here in New York. I’ve seen two men in full armour fighting with broadswords on the sidewalk in Union Square at one o’clock in the morning; my local bookshop for a while displayed in its window a photo book whose cover depicted a woman with a lighted candle sticking out of her rectum; there was a guy who used to regularly walk around the East Village with a 20-foot boa constrictor round his neck. Putting a nude in a public space is pretty mild stuff, although Iam tempted to ask: where did she put that little metal button that visitors to the Met have to display at all times?
Frankly, it smells of publicity stunt to me. And, oh, look! Sure enough, Mr. Hyman’s photographs are on display this week at “Decent Exposures,” at Chair and the Maiden Gallery on Christopher Street in New York’s Greenwich Village, Sept.03-Oct. 04. Sadly, you will not be able to see the one taken in the Met. Hyman says the museum staff took his camera away for ten minutes, then he had to give his camera and backpack to his brother while he went down to police station, and somehow either deliberately or in the confusion, the film became exposed.
When Ilook at his photograph of a spectacularly leggy and fit naked woman on a crowded New York subway train, I feel sorry for the passengers. Who wants to be reminded of their own physical imperfections during the morning commute? If I want to admire the human form, I’ll go… well, I suppose I’ll go to an art gallery.
Meanwhile, you can vote on whether all this skin constitutes art or not at the Weekly World News site here.
Images courtesy of www.clintspaulding.com