Boo-hoo! Male Artists Fret About Depicting the Female Form

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In a think-piece with the title Who’s Afraid of the Female Nude?, over at The Cut, author Michael Slenske asks, “Is it still an artistically justifiable pursuit for a man to paint a naked woman?” He proceeds:

13th century depiction of Adam and Eve from portal of the Cathedral of St. Lawrence, Trogir, Croatia (13th century). Source:

To answer this question, I reached out to a number of prominent male artists known for doing just that (as well as for painting nude men). But most of them — including Currin, Carroll Dunham, Jeff Koons, and the young Mexican-American painter Alex Becerra (some of whose nudes are drawn from escort ads) — declined to talk about their work’s relationship to the current social climate. Presumably, they worried about unintentionally saying the wrong thing that would then echo endlessly across social media, damaging their reputations. For emerging artists, there is the fear of a possibly career-derailing gestalt fail.

As expected, essay is full of quotes from male artists blaming hyper-sensitive women for making it impossible for them to express themselves in all their artistic glory.

Read the full piece here, along with a contrasting/companion piece by author Molly Langmuir. Langmuir’s article focuses on seven female artists’ take on the way they represent the female form in their art.

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