Going Nude at Berlin's New National Gallery
The New National Gallery in Berlin, Germany, mounts a new work by performance-artist Vanessa Beecroft. The show is as transparent as the modernist masterpiece building itself: the living models are all nude.
It isn't everyday that you see 100 naked women standing in the lobby of Berlin's New National Gallery. But on Thursday and Friday, a mass of women between the ages of 18 and 65 stood in the Mies van der Rohe-designed glass and steel architectural monument, wearing nothing but almond oil and see-through tights. The women are part of artist Vanessa Beecroft's new show "VB 55."
For three hours, the women stand -- in various degrees of slow-motion movement -- just 20 meters away from the museum's visitors. The artist discourages any movement -- after all, the women are meant to look like statues and create the impression of a living image. Beecroft, who was born in Genoa, Italy, and now lives in New York, has given them an entire laundry list of rules: don't talk, don't interact, don't laugh, don't talk to others, don't move to fast. Under no circumstances should anyone act sexily -- after all, this is art, not Playboy.
With the show, Beecroft says she wants to explore the power of beauty -- not that of Heidi Klum or other supermodels, but that of everyday women from all parts of society. They're here, too, with red hair, brunette hair, blonde hair, you name it. The models are perfectly framed, too, by one of Europe's most exquisite examples of modern architecture, van der Rohe's museum for the city of Berlin, which Beecroft describes as the "ideal of modernist architecture." This weekend, it's also a great place for voyeurism.