The Nakeds (2014-15)

Drawing Room, London (Sept - Nov 2014); De la Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea (Dec - Feb 2015).

The Nakeds was a collaboration with artist David Austen and Drawing Room co-directors Mary Doyle and Kate Macfarlane. Timed to coincide with the exhibition Egon Schiele: The Radical Nude at the Courtauld Institute of Art (Oct - Jan 2015), it considered contemporary artists’ engagement with the aesthetics and politics of Schiele’s sexually explicit drawings and with the questions his work continues to raise about the value-laden distinctions between art and pornography.

The Nakeds included 70 works on paper by an equal representation of male and female artists working from the post-war period, when Schiele’s work came to international attention, to the present. Rejecting the hierarchical concepts of chronology and influence which characterise comparable exhibitions, The Nakeds displayed Schiele’s drawings within the context of a ‘group show’. In doing so, it sought to encourage visitors to reflect on the relationship between sex and spectatorship which continues to inform contemporary practice. As Adrian Searle commented: ‘Looking at all these images, something drives us on. It is more than polite art appreciation or a connoisseurship of drawing. We want to be turned-on, in some way or other.’ This, he argued, was not a failure of intelligence: ‘It is intelligence directed.’

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