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Arts Agenda

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Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
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Agenda Publications
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HBBBIIBI Harvey, the Ann Arborite who has achieved local recognition and even some national media attention for his photographs of nude people in public places, has taken his project outside of Ann Arbor, as these new photos reveal. Artists in Western culture have always found themselves in conflict with conventions about nudity. Rodin, whose famous "Thinker" is the naked statue making a fourth "art buff' (see above), offended the "prurient prudery of our puritanism" with some of his works ("Rodin," Robert Eisen, 1 963, p.1 91 ). Seeing all nudity as having sexual content is a peculiar disease of our puritan heritage that infects both the right and the left in the U.S. Working from the tradition of the nude in art, Harvey emphasizes the natural beauty of the body. Pornographic magazines like Penthouse have used similar photographs of nudes in public places, but the prurient interest is emphasized as we see beautiful wornen mimicking male flashers in their naughty gestures of exposure. Harvey often achieves a natural feeling, where the model (of either sex) is just standing there as one of a crowd. If public nudity were legal there would be nothing unusual in many of his scènes. Harvey is criticized for the technical quality of his photos, but this seems unimportant to me. These photos act not just as art objects, but also as documentation for a performance where the model and photographer collaborate in an act of civil disobedience. The snapshot quality of the photos is consistent with the hit-and-run nature of the event. The end products also work as art on other levéis: the jarring and witty combinations of locations and models, the physical beauty of the models, and the humorous titles. Some shots, like the one at left with the pólice car, are more conf rontational, reminding us that public nudity is against the law in this country. Harvey and his models battle to restore the state of nature where clothing is optional, and where our environment is enriched with natural human beauty. Harvey's greeting cards are now available at 1 6 locations, including Detroit's Urban Park Gallery, Noir Leather in Royal Oak, Uncommon Accessories and In Flight in East Lansing, and Gags & Games n Ann Arbor and Livonia. Eighteen cards are ready and 20 new ones are on the way. Large posters are also available. Also, check out, If you want to model for Harvey, just leave you name and phone number at one of his sales locations - in Ann Arbor, try Middle Earth or Common Language Bookstore.


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