NEWS: Exposed – The Naked Portrait @ Laing | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Johnny Vegas as Demi Moore, (c) Karl J. Kaul, 2006 Karl J. Kaul

A revealing new exhibition comes to Newcastle’s Laing Art Gallery from Saturday 27th October until Sunday 3rd March. Exposed: The Naked Portrait features iconic images of some of the twentieth century’s most famous names, such as David Beckham, John Lennon, Kate Moss, Mick Jagger, Charlotte Rampling and David Bowie, who all appear naked.

On the other side of the lens or canvas, some of the photographers and painters are as renowned as their sitters, including David Hockney, Annie Leibovitz, Linda McCartney, Lord Snowdon and David Bailey. This fascinating exhibition of photographs, paintings, drawings, prints and film from the National Portrait Gallery Collection never strays into what could be considered offensive. Challenging, certainly; but never salacious.

Laing’s curator Amy Barker explains that all the images are naked portraits rather than depictions of the nude, where “Nakedness is associated with authenticity – ‘the naked truth’. In contrast, the nude belongs to a tradition of idealised figures that extends back to ancient Greece and was central to artistic training from the Renaissance to the late nineteenth century.” Visitors to Exposed will contemplate a multitude of questions about gender, sexuality and the experience and motivation of being seen naked.

“Freed from the social and cultural markers of clothing, naked portraits explore various expressive and formal questions,” Barker explains. If so much nakedness is too much for you, there will be a complementary exhibition of clothed portraits, which will be on display alongside Exposed.

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