What Ever Happened to the Nude Model?

The jury is still out on Art Basel Miami, which runs until Sunday. Art professional-types are continuing to deliberate  whether ’09 is going to look like 1990, the last time a recession affected the look and discourse of contemporary art, peeling its sympathies for the better part of the decade. Of course, ’09 may prove worse than ’90 (putting the two numbers together is admittedly appearling). No one really knows.

But, hey! There’s a funny article in today’s Chicago Tribune on… nude artist models!

Drawing from a nude model has, of late, become a Sunday artist kind of thing to do. This has not always been the case. Way back when, like, when the human figure was the basis for most Western art and being an artist meant spending the better part of your teens and early-twenties sitting on a wood plank all day in a studio garret, struggling with the knot-and-hollows density and structure of the man or woman (likely a woman, likely "disreputable") posed in front of you while your teacher threatens your sketch from behind with a gum eraser. Back then, nude models were the obstacle course, firing range, and graduation day parading ground of art boot camp.

That doesn’t sound like much fun. At least, it sounds like a lot of work, which is probably why the number of artists who are schooled in figure drawing and possess–what do you call them, again?–formal skills seems to diminish annually.

That’s probably not a fair generalization. In any case, Parson’s MFA program is having its annual Open Studio event tonight at 2 West 13th street and various locations.

Both faculty and students will show. Aside from general skill level, will there be any outward difference between faculty and student art? One with the self-confidence of the tenured, the other coolly eyeing an immediate future of daytime jobs and cold studios in Bushwick? We’ll see.

  What Ever Happened to the Nude Model?