Celia Hempton Shows Us The Guys Behind All Our Nudes

THE DAILY PIC: For fleshy display, sex sites replace the artist's studio.


British artist Celia Hempton is presenting this little painting as part of her solo exhibition at Southard Reid gallery in London. All the many pictures in the show were painted from “life”, as Hempton interacted with the male visitors to ChatRandom.com, now mostly used for anonymous virtual sex. (Her paintings are the size of a laptop screen.) I like the fact that Hempton has realized that the Internet has become the natural site for live nudes in our culture, replacing the artist’s studio–which was once almost as shady a place to hang out. Any young painter who wants to depict naked people had better be aware–and make us aware, as Hempton does–of the vexed place that the nude has in Western culture, and of how it can only get vexed-er and vexed-er. No matter how refined a nude might be, or how elevated by oil paint, somewhere in the background there’s a guy with his dick in his hand–and now, in our Internet age, with a mouse in the other one.

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