Artist Andy Golub thinks we’re all too buttoned up — in the most literal sense.
“When we get dressed in the morning, we convince ourselves, ‘Oh, now I look alright.’ But really we're just hiding things about ourselves that we don’t want people to see,” he says.
Golub isn’t alone in thinking we’re preoccupied with concealing our bodies, and he’s gathered 50 fellow body painters and 100 models to lay it all bare for Saturday’s second annual NYC Bodypainting Day.
The volunteers will strip down to be painted at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, then showcase the au naturale artworks by marching to the United Nations, then taking their mobile art gallery to the rest of the city aboard a double-decker bus.
The performance is much more than exhibitionism — it’s a reminder that there’s no one “right” type of body that deserves to be on display.
“I think we spend an enormous amount of time pretending we don’t [have bodies], particularly if they don’t fit a sanctioned image for being naked. But the more we hide ourselves, the more warped our own sense of our bodies gets,” explains Nicolette Barischoff, a Los Angeles naturist who will be flying in to have her body painted by Golub.
“When people get nude en masse and you see the variety of bodies, you see that it’s really not about what you look like, but whether or not you’re comfortable with yourself,” Golub adds.
The models, including a skydiver in her 70s and a breast cancer survivor who had a double mastectomy, all come for their own reasons.
For Barischoff, who was born with spastic cerebral palsy, body painting is especially personal. “I think particularly with disability, a lot of people want to divorce me from my body in the sense that my body makes them uncomfortable. I want people to face the fact that I have a body, and I want people to face the fact that we all have bodies,” she says.
This year the artists will also be taking volunteers from the public, so if you show up and want to trade in your jeans and tee for your birthday suit, they’ll paint you too.
NYC Bodypainting Day
July 18, 12-4 p.m.
Dag Hammarskjold Plaza
47th Street & Second Avenue