Monday, April 25, 2005

Once This Trend Hits the Book Review We're In Trouble 

Nudes on Stage, and Music to Sketch By
Published: April 26, 2005
(New York/Region section)
On a recent Tuesday night, about 75 people crowded into the third-floor dining room of a private club in a Manhattan town house.

Some flocked to a small, noisy bar in the front, others to a rollicking party spilling out into a rear garden. The drinks flowed freely, and a jazz band struck up a lively blues number. A couple near the bar began swing dancing.

When two svelte women stepped up onto a small stage in the center of the room and dropped their robes, their nude bodies hardly attracted a glance from the two groups. But another group, clustered around the stage, became rapt and stared intently and unabashedly at the women, fixating on the contours, lines, creases, shadows and proportions of their bodies.

The people in this group - about 50 illustrators, from college students to retirees - were sharpening their skills by drawing the women, who were figure models. The artists were poised over pads and easels. Some tapped their feet or swayed to the music, but kept sketching rapidly in pencil, ink, pastels or charcoal.

The session was organized by the Society of Illustrators, a century-old organization whose home is the town house at 128 East 63rd Street.

A week ago:
The New York Times
April 17, 2005 Sunday
SECTION: Section 2; Column 4; Arts and Leisure Desk; ART; Pg. 1
LENGTH: 1609 words
THE mood was relaxed, even familial, on a recent Tuesday evening as the painter Will Cotton welcomed visitors to his Lower East Side loft. As he set out bowls of chocolate Easter candy, the artist Inka Essenhigh, who first made her name with paintings of anime-like creatures, pinned paper to an easel. Delia Brown, an art world provocateur who specializes in society scenes starring herself, relaxed in a chair with a drawing pad at the ready. The multimedia and performance artist Guy Richards Smit handed Mr. Cotton the first CD of the night -- a post-punk mix -- and unpacked his watercolor kit.

With a studiously blank expression on her face, another guest, Linda Marraccini, then casually pulled off her clothes, revealing ample, Rubenesque curves.

''Standing poses!'' Mr. Cotton called. The model twisted her torso, lifted an arm aloft, and the life-drawing session began.

Only a few years ago, the idea of artists gathering to paint from a model would have seemed impossibly old-fashioned and hokey -- and if the model was female and nude, sexist to boot. Yet for nearly three years now, a number of artists -- not students putting charcoal to paper for the first time, but successful artists with established styles and audiences of their own -- have flocked to Mr. Cotton's weekly invitation-only sessions.

Both, of course, came with photos:

The New York Times: A Naked Chick In Every Section By Year's End

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