Over 100 New Yorkers Are Getting Naked For an Artist Today—Why?

The artist's work is at the heart of a larger conversation about body positivity.

Andy Golub‘s Body Painting Day is back by popular demand.

The artist is hosting his second annual event in New York City July 18 and over 1,000 participants have confirmed their attendance on the event’s Facebook page alone.

Granted, art-world nudity is nothing new. Skeptics may even be quick to dismiss the affair as yet another sensational public art fad. But it’s worth remembering that body positivity has become something of a mainstay in contemporary cultural discourse. In this context, the artist finds his work at the heart of a larger conversation about body image and self-acceptance.

According to the event page, over 100 fully nude models of “all shapes and sizes” are offering themselves up as canvases. In Newsweek’s coverage of the event, Golub’s models were eager to express their enthusiasm about the experience, citing it as nothing short of transformational.

One participant, Kiki Alston-Owens, who now weighs 250 pounds after losing nine of her children, reveals to Newsweek that modeling for Golub is her “story of survival.” Alston-Owens states about the experience: “[T]his weight, this stomach, these sagging breasts are not something that someone else will look at and say, ‘That’s obesity. That’s nasty…’ There’s a message behind all of this fat.”


Body painting models.
Photo: andygolub.com

For others, still, the event carries a purely cosmetic appeal. Golub admits to working with volunteers who are more titillated by the novelty of public nudity and its social media-rich opportunities than they are about changing social attitudes.


Jeff Koons with body painted model.
Photo: andygolub.com.

The event starts at noon at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza on 47th Street between the UN Plaza and 2nd Avenue. Onlookers are encouraged to join Golub and other body painting artists and participate as models.

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