body painting at NEW museum

body painting by Danny Setiawan at new museum NYC
Our studio was approached by a curator from the NEW museum who helped their rock star artist Pawel Althamer to recruit local artists to “collaborate” in the exhibition entitled “Draftsmen’s Congress.”

Essentially, they let/invite people come in and draw/paint on the wall and floor of the 4th floor of the museum. They provide some paint and other materials.

For our involvement, they’re particularly interested in adding body painting to make the project more interesting. For this reason, they asked us to get our community involved.

We decided that this could be a fun thing to do so we moved our February body painting jam session and shoot out to the museum.

We had fun, but towards the end of the 3rd hour, the project facilitator started acting with hostility towards us. She kept asking if we got clearance for the nudity involved. Few of our models (female) were topless and apparently this offended some parents, who complained to the museum.

We did ask the curator about the restrictions and limits of what we could do during our email correspondence prior to the event. She told us that they’d rather not know what we were going to do. Since they contacted us (body painting studio), inviting us to do body painting, we were under the impression that they wanted us to do what we normally do like what they saw on our site before they contacted us.

That facilitator ended up giving us a deadline to wrap up our work.

Few of painters in our group were not happy with this since we were told that we could continue working until the museum’s close time, which was over 2 hours away.

In the end, we were able to accomplish what we came there to do and had fun, but we’re puzzled by the way the museum handled the complaints, especially since there was a sculpture of genitals on the second floor and offensive things that people drew/painted/wrote on the wall.

The body painting process that Danny did:

  1. He created an outline of the model on the wall, then fill it in.
  2. After that, he painted liquid latex on her torso.
  3. The next step is painting Van Gogh’s Sunflowers on her torso.
  4. When the painting is done, we peeled off the latex then stick it on the wall.

Along the way, we took polaroid snapshots of the process, which in the end we attached to the wall, below the peeled off body painting on latex.

Here are the pictures that show the process:

And here are some more pictures from the event by Saul Addison: