New Times / Art
The following articles were printed from New Times [newtimesslo.com] - Volume 23, Issue 43
Not your average bowl-of-fruit paintingThe Art Center serves up full-frontal nudity, and film
By ASHLEY SCHWELLENBACH
“The centerpiece of art has always been human beings,” said Bill Buchman, director and featured artist of Art is an Attitude. “And, particularly, the nude, throughout the entire history of art. I think that the human figure is the basis for our concept of beauty.”
Buchman, of Florida, created the 93-minute instructional video in the summer of 2007 (it is now available for sale on Amazon.com for $34.95). He hired a co-director, who assumed responsibility for the technical aspects of the shoot. They filmed for two days in Buchman’s studio. For the sake of simplicity, he worked primarily with a single female model, an actress and dancer he had used before and selected because he knew that she would be comfortable in front of the camera. All told, the project was finished within three months.
“I love the human face,” he said. “I started out doing street portraits in Denver, Colorado. But with everything else, you have to specialize. Even Picasso said, ‘I’ve ruined a lot of drawings by putting the head on them.’ People think it’s about something called realism or reality whereas it’s really about making magic.”
But Rob Thompson, one of four producers of The Nude Model, approaches the subject from a different perspective. His film crew recruited artists and models to participate in a staged figure drawing class in a rented theater space, filming in a single afternoon. They researched the history of nude modeling, discovering that many of the models who now grace the walls of the world’s most prestigious museums were considered morally inferior to prostitutes. In the film, models discuss the physical and emotional discomfort that attends their profession.
“Unless you do a life drawing class, people have no idea what it’s like for the models,” said Thompson. “Some people felt very awkward about telling people they were nude models. There’s still a lot of prudery.”
Their models were both male and female, and sometimes their stories about nude modeling differed accordingly. One woman talked about modeling through her seventh month of pregnancy; a male model recounts an unfortunate incident in which he became aroused while posing. But the discomfort was balanced against the benefits of collaboration and the inspiration of the human form.
“It’s a different energy from drawing a bowl of fruit,” said Thompson, who has participated in an art class with a nude model.
Direct outrage to Arts Editor Ashley Schwellenbach at email@example.com.
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