Even when artists are working with the same subject, the results can be dramatically different, reflecting their personal style, choice of medium, and other artistic decisions. This fundamental truth will be in evidence at the New York Academy of Art’s “Take Home a Nude” benefit auction, where 112 artists, from Ryan McGinness to Natalie Frank, have each donated distinctly unique drawings made of the same nude models.
They both took part in Will Cotton’s annual Drawing Party, in which the painter enlists fellow New York artists to get together and sketch nude models for “Take Home a Nude.” The gala, now in its 26th year, takes place tonight at Sotheby’s Upper East Side headquarters, honoring artist John Alexander.
Guests will have the chance to rub elbows with the likes of Princess Beatrice of York, Brooke Shields, Chris Noth, Padma Lakshmi, and Naomi Watts; and purchase works from such luminaries as Christo, Eric Fischl, Walter Robinson, and Kiki Smith.
What sets “Take Home a Nude” apart from other benefit auctions is the section of figure drawing works. Although a fundamental part of any arts education, the practice is overlooked among many professional artists. Back in 2002, when Cotton, an academy grad, was looking to do more figurative work, he realized he needed to get back to basics, and return to figure drawing.
“To keep myself in practice, I have to practice,” he explained. Cotton hosts regular drawing parties at his studio, which he believes fosters “a sense of community” among participating artists. “I love the New York Academy,” he added. “They taught me a lot of what I know, a long time ago.”
The theme for Cotton’s 2017 Drawing Party was the sons and daughters of the art world. Glenn O’Brien’s son, Oscar; Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn’s daughter, Coco; Anne Pasternak and Mike Starn’s daughter, Paris; and Barbara Gladstone’s grandson, Eli, joined the nude models, albeit fully clothed, each posing for 20 minutes.
Academy president David Kratz called “Take Home a Nude” a “celebration of the work that our artists are doing,” noting that the benefit is essential to the school’s continued success.
It also helps produce some pretty great art. “It’s remarkable. Same exact pose, same model, and all these different interpretations,” said Cotton. “That’s why we do it, why drawing from a live model is important.
See 10 artworks made from the same pose below:
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