I grew up in a world that some people might consider a paradise. Or was it more like hell? In any case, I was regularly surrounded by naked strangers. Sometimes I knew these encounters were coming my way, while other times they took me by surprise.
The scene was Europe in the early 1970s. I can remember long-haired students running naked through the streets of West Berlin, my home town. These “streakers” were so fast that those in the vicinity only glimpsed them for a moment. As far as I can recall, the streakers’ physical exploits were not tied to any political agenda. I think they simply enjoyed shocking or provoking people by intentionally pushing boundaries – but I was too young to have an opinion about it or even find it all particularly interesting.
There’s a place in France where the naked ladies dance. There’s a hole in the wall where the men can see it all. Except in this case, the lady isn’t dancing. She’s lying naked in a park. Her legs are splayed open to reveal a hairless vagina, more of a cleft than anything else. A waterfall glitters in the background. She could be a corpse but for the fact that she is holding a lantern with her left arm. From the peephole in the wooden door we cannot see her head.
This is Marcel Duchamp’s last work. It is three-dimensional, something like a diorama. The naked woman is a life-sized model made from a cast of a woman Duchamp was once in love with. The… More…