In recent years Sports Illustrated has tried to Maxim-up its swimsuit issue by including nude women bodypainted into bikinihood. I believe we are supposed to find this racy, edgy, artsy or, you know, something like that.
Body painting is nothing new to art, so today MAN’s swimsuit issue is all about the paint. At right is choreographer Bill T. Jones, painted by Keith Haring and photographed by Tseng Kwong Chi in 1983. (The photograph was included in the National Portrait Gallery’s just-closed exhibition “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture.” Tseng’s photographs Jones were the subject of this exhibition at New York’s Paul Kasmin Gallery last year. Don’t miss that click-through: The pictures are ebullient.)
Mexican tattoo artist Dr. Lakra, recently the subject of a survey at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston and soon-to-be the subject of this exhibition at The Drawing Center in New York, has a particular take on body painting. Typically Dr. Lakra, whose moniker roughly translates as ‘Dr. Delinquent’ and whose given name is Jeronimo Lopez Ramirez, paints over exposed skin in found materials, such as pin-ups, book covers and the like.
In recent years several American museums have acquired his work, including the Walker Art Center, which half a dozen entertainingly racy Dr. Lakras in 2005. The Walker Dr. Lakras are super, but more in the spirit of this post is this work, Sin título / Untitled (Retrato de mujer con calaca) (2007), from the ICA Boston’s show. Or this one, which is in MOCA’s collection.
What else ya got, MAN readers?
Related: MAN’s Swimsuit Issue part one, two. Plus: Behind the scenes! The museum world’s swimsuit collections. Art museums make their own contributions, complete with some racy beach talk!