Swiss artist Milo Moire has a knack for inspiring headlines. A self-professed protege of Marina Abramovic, the Dusseldorf-based performance devotee has -- on more than one occasion -- stripped down for the sake of art. Once she "gave birth" to a painting in a spectacle timed for Art Cologne. Another time she attempted to casually visit Art Basel with nothing but black writing emblazoned on her skin.
Now she's roaming the halls of a German museum, nude, with a naked baby in tow. Why? Because the LWL Museum for Art and Culture is hosting an exhibition titled "Naked Life," and Moire wanted to be a part of it, in the best way she knows how: nakedness. You can see the recent act in its entirety in the video below.
These are the articles that quickly followed her nude visit to the museum:
Or, our personal favorite of a mouthful from the Daily Mail: "Nice legs, shame about the art: Visitors stunned by Swiss artist who walked naked around gallery while carrying a nude baby for her 'performance'"
So, what's left to say? There are only so many synonyms and euphemisms for "nude" and "performance artist." At this point in mainstream coverage, it's clear reporting on a Milo Moire intervention is an attempt to alert the masses that performance art is still weird. Or inaccesible. Or exhaustingly shocking. Or something.
But there a few takeaways worth pointing out -- you know, as long as we've hooked you with the word "naked." One, Moire is hardly the first woman to tackle pop culture's torrid love affair with the nude female body. Cue Yoko, Marina, Carolee, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge.
Second, it's one thing to take issue with the mere fact that Moire is walking naked amongst us. It's another to break down what it means to see another white, notably hairless, model-esque body type -- you know, like the ones Botticelli used to paint -- inserted into contemporary art. The field is awash with muses already (she refers to herself as muse to her partner, photographer P.H. Hergarten). When we think about the nude women we're used to seeing in art, is Moire's work even shocking at all?
Third, to her defense, Moire's frequent nudity might seem bombastic to some (and, let's be fair, it is), but she's pretty consistent in her reasoning. “Without a shell, the body develops its maximum ability to communicate, its primitive nature," she writes on her website. "The body is universal and free from distraction, not bound to dominating ideals, fashions or even time. The sight of nudity provokes a meeting with oneself and affects someone within themselves, or it repels and the thought changes into outraged resistance. I see the naked human body neutrally –- as a canvas and the possibility to get closer to oneself. The opportunity to make yourself vulnerable and feel strength.”
Whether your like her methods or not, she has plenty more quotes like this lurking online. Until the next Moire headline, this has been a drive-by explanation of nude performance art, courtesy of your friends at HuffPost Arts.
The video's caption reads in part: "In keeping with the approach of the artists exhibited, Milo Moiré brings everyday life to art. And yet, she goes one step further in removing herself from the abstract form of representation and shows her main motif of the naked life: A naked infant safe in the arms of a naked woman. This direct confrontation with live nude art challenges others to reflect on familiar forms of perception. How close may a form of representation in art approach real life? Milo Moiré’s performance leaves this question within the realm of the museum: 'How little abstraction can art tolerate?'”
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