The blog of author Dennis Cooper


Artur Żmijewski Game of Tag, 1999
‘Poland’s interior minister on Friday instructed his country’s prosecutors to follow up on an investigation by groups representing Holocaust survivors into how a video featuring a naked game of tag came to be filmed at a former Nazi death camp in the country. Mariusz Błaszczak transferred to prosecutors the dossier on the video that was filmed inside the gas chamber at Stutthof, he said Friday on Twitter. Two days earlier several groups, including the Simon Wiesenthal Center, had sent a letter to Polish President Andrjez Duda noting the video was traced back to Stutthof and demanding to know who gave permission for the filming. “It is the most disgusting thing I’ve seen in a long time,” Efraim Zuroff, the Wiesenthal Center’s chief Nazi hunter, said in 2015 about the exhibition. “They lied about it. It is just revolting and a total insult to the victims and anyone with any sense of morality or integrity.”


Jan Smaga Untitled (dog), 2007
‘Jan Smaga works with photography and combines classical techniques with computer editing, constructing three-dimensional photographic objects. The technique developed by Grzeszykowska and Smaga is reminiscent of the process of scanning – a total voyeuristic documentation of the space and the people which inhabit it. In the individual projects, the artist subjects the human body to a similar, detailed analysis of the surface.’


Sally Mann The Wet Bed, 1987
‘In The Wet Bed, for example, it is not clear whether the young Virginia is asleep or posing, coloring our view of the circles of urine that stain the sheet around her. Many observers of Mann’s work feel manipulated by this sense of artifice, yet Mann argues for its use, stating that “You learn something about yourself and your own fears. Everyone surely has all those fears that I have for my children.”‘


John DeAndrea Various, 1972 – 1988
‘John DeAndrea is an American sculptor whose intensely realistic depictions of human figures, both nude and clothed, offer an uncanny portrait of contemporary human life. Made using plastic, polyester, fiber glass, and natural hair, his work is painted after naturalistic gypsum casting to achieve a high degree of technical precision and lifelike appearance. He has explained that his work is not intended as political, but rather an existential glimpse at an individual’s sense of self. “You don’t look at people like you look at a sculpture,” the artist has explained about the public’s interest in his work. “We’re in a room and we glance at each other. With a sculpture you can walk around it, take it apart, examine it. That’s part of what makes them appealing.”’


Campaign Against Sex Robots, 2015 ->
‘True Companion’s female sexbot, Roxxxy, is apparently “always turned on and ready to play,” though as the FAQ page makes clear, she does have an off switch for when the robot shagging is over and it’s time for her to get back into the cupboard. Customers can select the skin tone, hair colour and eye colour of Roxxxy. She can even come with pubes in a variety of styles, but this costs extra. Roxxxy is suggestive of a time when men all over the world will be able to forgo the trouble and inconvenience of a real girlfriend, with all their PMT tantrums and feminist sexual demands, and simply go online, design their ideal sex pet, and wait for a woman-sized cardboard box to be delivered to their door. Dr. Kathleen Richardson wants to stop us hurtling towards this bleak version of the future. A senior research fellow in the Ethics of Robotics at De Montfort University, she’s recently launched the Campaign Against Sex Robots, along with Dr. Erik Billing of the University of Skövde in Sweden. Their campaign manifesto points out that by creating robots for sex, society is reinforcing patriarchal ideas about how women should look and behave, as well as normalising the idea that a relationship can be purely physical.’


Roger Hiorns Untitled 2005–10, 2010
Untitled 2005–10 is a sculpture comprising a black metal bench that is intermittently inhabited by a naked youth and a lit flame. The sculpture also functions without the presence of the youth or the flame and, in this case, sets up an anticipation of presence. According to the wishes of the exhibiting institution, a youth can become part of the sculpture by occupying the bench in sessions of roughly fifteen minutes each over an agreed period of time. Once the youth is present and fully disrobed, a gallery attendant can choose to set light to the gel which ignites the flame on the metal bench, although this is not necessary for the sculpture to be activated. On a prepared area of the bench, enough flame gel to allow for approximately nine to fifteen minutes of flame is lit. The youth and the flame are then present together. Once the flame is extinguished, through the exhaustion of the flame gel, the youth may take leave of the bench.’


Hilde Krohn Huse Hanging in the Woods, 2015
‘A Norwegian contemporary artist has confessed to being left hanging naked in a tree for three and a half hours after an video art installation she filmed in a Norwegian forest went wrong. Hilde Krohn Huse, who lives and works in London, ventured into the forest in her native Aukra in Norway to film a video featuring herself hanging naked from a rope in a tree. However, when she reached the end of her filming, she realised that she was completely unable to free herself. “The video ends when the camera shuts off, but I was there calling for help for another 30 minutes,” told Norway’s VG newspaper. “I felt sick when I saw the video for the first time, I experienced everything anew. But I slept on it and realised that the video is quite decent.”‘

Watch excerpts from the video here


Olga Fedorova Naked Gym, 2018
‘In the video Naked Gym, a man and a woman run on a trainer, exchanging glances but nothing more, while drones are peeping through the windows. Such a work requires quite heavy compositing chores.’


Paul McCarthy The Garden, 1992
‘For his solo show at SMAK in 2007, Paul McCarthy included two kinetic sculptures of male figures humping a tree and the floor, and in the next room both were laid out on tables, castrated.’


Charles Ray Young Man, 2012
‘A 1,500-pound sculpture in solid stainless steel.’


Paolo Schmidlin Porno Queen, 2007
‘Italian artist Paolo Schmidlin makes his second appearance on this list. Porno Queen is a controversial 2007 sculpture. It shows a topless Queen Elizabeth II. The figure seems totally disinterested in the pair of hands gripping her torso. One hand is fondling her breast. The sculpture debuted in Madrid, Spain at a show opened by King Juan Carlos. The work is funny but insulting. This figure was once labeled by the Queen’s photographer as “the work of a lunatic”’


Eddie Peake Touch, 2012
‘Peake is best known for his 2012 performance piece Touch, a five-on-five 30-minute football (soccer) match in which male players were only clad in shoes and socks denoting their team. The sheer name of the event, Touch, has a homoerotic connotation, though, Peake seems to ask, “is there anything inherently sexual about naked men, with flaccid genitals, kicking a ball around a court?”’


Jamie Wyeth Orca Bates, 1990
‘Orca Bates (born 1976) was the favorite model for artist Jamie Wyeth.[2] He was first painted in late 1989, and numerous times over the next five years. Orca was a “wild child”, described by Jamie as “more of a seagull than a person”. Orca’s parents, Daniel and Amy Bates, had divorced by the time Orca was 12. Orca currently lives in Pine Island, New York and owns several companies (Orca’s Construction & Restoration Inc., Growboxco, and Muckland Hops LLC).’


Gilles Berquet Various, 1980 – 2000
‘Gilles Berquet is a French artist known for his highly-sexual photographs featuring theatrical stagings of the woman’s body. Influenced by various mediums (adventure fictions, comics, films, television), Berquet exhibits our worst nightmares and most guilty desires. His works are regularly published in his own magazine Maniac as well as in Muscle Carabine.’


Wagner Schwartz La Bête, 2017
‘Wagner Schwartz received the first death threat two days after lying naked on the floor of a museum in São Paulo. It was October 2017 and the Brazilian artist had invited members of his audience, which included children, to adjust his body: move a limb, roll him over, that kind of thing. This was for a dance piece called La Bête, a work he had already staged many times at home and abroad. So it was a shock to suddenly find himself the target of an increasingly emboldened network of rightwing and evangelical Christian groups. During La Bête, a four-year-old girl, encouraged by her mother, lifted Schwartz’s hand and then his foot, while another slightly older girl touched his head. These moments were caught on video and uploaded to Facebook. “The creators of this page,” says Schwartz, “put a caption on the video saying the museum incited paedophilia and that I was a paedophile. From this moment on, people who did not know me or the work decided La Bête was a threat.” Evangelical activists and members of the Movimento Brasil Livre, a group that claims to be libertarian, gathered outside the venue, the Museum of Modern Art (MAM), while 100,000 people signed a petition denouncing the work. One popular meme juxtaposed a picture of Schwartz with three bullets and the caption: “Paedophilia has a cure.”


Daniel Edwards Monument to Pro-Life: The Birth of Sean Preston, 2006
‘Singer Britney Spears has found her way into the world of art history. Artist Daniel Edwards has depicted Spears nude in a life sized statue giving birth on her hands and knees on a bearskin rug. The sculpture is meant to promote “Pro-Life” and depicts Britney in the pose of a natural birth (whereas in reality her son was born with a C-section and the celebrity was heavily drugged). The name of the sculpture is “Monument to Pro-Life: The Birth of Sean Preston”. The ‘art’ piece has caused a political storm but Edwards is keen to explain that he purely sees Brit as a modern fertility goddess. He said: “My feeling about it was that for her to give up her career, to sacrifice that essentially to have a child that seemed like a real dedication to birth. I guess I’m just really responding to the public’s general interest in her pregnancy and trying to capture the ultimate moment being the birth.”‘


Bill Henson Various, 2003 – 2010
‘Photos of a naked teenager by artist Bill Henson are part of a taxpayer-funded exhibition teaching students about art and adolescence. The Monash Gallery of Art touring exhibition features photographs of a naked teenage boy, with his ribs protruding, and his pubic hair on display. The educational resource provided to students and teachers said the exhibition dealt with themes such as the human body, adolescence and suburbia. Students are also invited to look at Henson’s body of work via a weblink to the Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, which was raided by police in 2008. This site depicts teenage girls naked and wrapped in tinsel or topless. It ties the photography to VCE subjects ranging from art to philosophy and asks students how successful Henson is at capturing youth and adolescence.’


Jennifer Rubell Nutcrackers, 2011
Nutcrackers consists of 18 life-size interactive sculptures of women surrounding a pedestal holding one ton of Texas pecans. Each prefabricated female mannequin is mounted on her side in an odalisque position and has been retooled to function as a nutcracker. Visitors interact with each sculpture by placing a pecan in the mannequin’s inner thigh, then pushing down the upper leg to crack open the nut so they may eat it in the gallery. Inspired by nutcrackers depicting female figures – and in particular one found on the internet of Hillary Clinton – these interactive sculptures embody the two polar stereotypes of female power: the idealized, sexualized nude female form; and the too-powerful, nut-busting überwoman. The work also serves as a prompt to action, encouraging the viewer to transgress the traditional viewer-artwork boundary and complete the work by participating in it.’


Elin Magnusson Skin, 2009
‘In a room on the seventh floor in a cold city, two people are waking up. They hug each other hard, still, it’s not enough to be able to forget where one body starts and the other ends. Neither of them has a sex or a face and they both wear more layers of skin than they ought to. Old disappointments and badly healed wounds have turned them into this. With a pair of scissors they ask each other for permission to expose, rip up and get in. Something forgotten turns into a memory that later transforms into fingers, and finally a hand. Hair begins to smell and the sweat is pouring. In close-ups about closeness we see the longing for something new.’

Watch an excerpt here


Juan Rivero Various, 2013 – 2014
‘Juan Rivero’s art seeks to expose the human body to twist and distort it, to humiliate and display it in all its strength and neglect, in all its brilliance and misery, impressing on them the most personal, unique and exclusive to the idiosyncrasies of the artist, who can afford the spectacle of the terrible and the problematic, even the terrible action of mutilation, decomposition, negation, because what exists, even all that exists, until every being, irritates him.’


David Shrigley Life Model, 2015
Life Model invites the public to draw a rather not so handsome male nude that occasionally urinates into a bucket.’


Stelarc & Havve Fjell Shadow Suspension, 2013


Sam Jinks Untitled (Kneeling Woman), 2015
‘A crowd of people jostle for a closer look at the naked woman crouching on her knees. Phones held aloft, the group shamelessly take pictures of her bare back and bottom — safe in the knowledge she won’t be waking up anytime soon. The remarkably life-like nude sculpture, created by Australian artist Sam Jinks, was by far the most photographed work at this year’s Art Basel in Hong Kong, a three-day art fair that has attracted tens of thousands of visitors since it first launched nearly three years ago.’


Konstantin Somov Various (1930 – 1936)
‘In about 1930, Somov met Boris Mikhailovich Snejkovsky (born 23 July 1910), “the twenty-year old young man who would inspire several of Somov’s best later works. He would sit for straightforward portrait drawings, beautiful, mildly suggestive oil paintings, and he may have been the model for more erotic watercolors. Somov was a homosexual, but the exact nature of his relationship with his model and friend is unknown.”‘


This naked woman crossed Interstate 95 near Flagler Beach, Florida, in footage shared on Facebook on March 22, 2019.


银角大魔王 霜星的脚01 (2020)


Thordis Adalsteinsdottir Bear Eats Man, 2013
‘A questionably offensive sculpture at Queens’ Socrates Sculpture Park has merited a fence installed around the work. Bear Eats Man by Thordis Adalsteinsdottir depicts a wooden bear gripping a man from behind and biting into his neck, but a closer look reveals that the victim may in fact have an erection. A wooden enclosure has been placed around the piece, with a warning notifying visitors about the subject material.’




p.s. Hey. ** David Ehrenstein, Howdy. ** _Black_Acrylic, Morning, Ben. ** Steve Erickson, I played the first ‘Animal Crossing’ game, and that was in 2001. So it has been around (and very popular) before it recently went viral for quite a long time. I’ll check out the Ja’Tovia Gray film, thanks. ** Thomas Moronic, Hi! I wondered if you would remember making it. Thanks tons about ‘ZDB’. Hope everything is as great as can be where you are. ** Wow, that was easy. And so is introducing today’s self-explanatory post. See you tomorrow.


  1. _Black_Acrylic

    In 2016 Jeremy Deller organised this class where 21 students at the New York Academy of Art took part in a special life drawing session with Iggy Pop as their subject.

  2. Steve Erickson

    Fittingly for this day, an E-mail with the header “Stop Pornography” turned up in my spam filter this afternoon.

    I wrote a song today, but I made a mistake trying to do a fade-in effect on the volume at the start, and the entire song constantly fades up and down. When I couldn’t figure out how to undo this, I decided to embrace the disorienting quality and added digital delay and vinyl crackles, but I’m not sure if this is any good at all: I had Leyland Kirby in mind once I tried finishing it.

    America’s puritanism has led to an odd quirk on Instagram where you can show photos of bare breasts as long as they are prosthetics, no matter how convincing they are, but you can’t take the many cheesecake model photos on IG to the next level. (And they don’t consider male breasts an erotic object, despite their ubuquity on gay Instagram proving otherwise.) Someone must have posted a photo with her actual breasts but claimed they’re special effects makeup to test this.

  3. Corey Heiferman

    Was affected somehow by almost all of these. My favorite was the treadmill joggers with the drones. I suspect the umbilical chord choking will give me nightmares.

    The Ivy League freshman nude photos scandal comes to mind.

    I’ve developed a strong admiration for somebody who deserves it and likes me but is currently unavailable. We have a lot of potential to collaborate on literary events and I don’t want my feelings to get in the way. Wishing the feelings away won’t work so I’m trying to think of her as a muse, with some success. I’ve been hurt a lot in similar situations but there’s a glimmer of hope this time that something good will come out of it.

    Do you have Instagram? I don’t but am tempted for the first time. I probably wouldn’t use it to post much, if at all, but recently they made it so you have to sign in to Instagram in order to browse it, and there’s a lot of art there. So signing up would probably be fun and fruitful but also a kind of surrender.

  4. Brendan

    Hey Dennis. Love this day. It’s so timely, based on the work I’ve been doing. The Nude is everything. It’s art history, it’s evolution, it’s porn, it’s reptile brain.

    I sent you a ton of new images, un-solicited!, yesterday. It’s what I’ve been doing, base on my extreme limitations. But I think they are pretty good, and it’s a direction to move forward. At the moment, I’ll I’ve got is the building across from me, but I feel like the overall aesthetic of the images could be applied anywhere. These private lives are happening everywhere. But I’m stuck in my own place so this is it for now. Anyway, I hope you like them. I feel like this stuff is more directly influenced by your work than I’ve been doing in many years. There’s a kind of intense intimacy that I get from your work that I’m always trying to achieve.
    It feels good. I feel like I’m home again.

    Love, B

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