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article imageNude Models Feeling The Pinch at New York's MoMA

By Laura Trowbridge     Apr 18, 2010 in Entertainment
New York - The rule about never touching the art is always the same at any museum. But a few vistors are breaking that rule at New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) because there are live, nude models on display.
Marina Abramovic's "The Artist is Present" exhibit opened on March 14 at MoMA and will continue until May 31. It has brought huge crowds of the curious, as well as some perverts, to view the nude performers.
Some of the models have complained about groping, pushing, prodding and poking.
One performer, Will Rawls, was standing naked while facing a naked woman in a gallery entrance, as visitors squeezed through the narrow space between them. He said an older man "proceeded to slide his hand onto my ribs and back and then touched my butt. As he was passing me he looked me in the eyes and said ‘You feel good, man.’ ”
Rawls alerted a security guard that he had been touched. He later heard that MoMA had revoked the offending man’s 30-year membership and has barred him from returning to the museum.
The museum said: "We are well aware of the challenges posed by having nude performers in the galleries for this exhibition. Any visitor who improperly touches or disturbs any of the performers is escorted from the museum by MoMA security."
An unspecified number of patrons have been ousted for groping performers, but there have been no arrests or emergency 911 calls made.
The exhibit features 38 performers in rotating shifts of eight. In "Imponderabilia," two naked performance artists are facing each other in a narrow doorway where visitors have to squeeze between them to get to another room. "Nude with Skeleton" has a naked performer lying under a skeleton, while in "Luminosity" a nude performer is suspended on a wall and bathed in light, which makes it look like the body is floating.
All performers had to go through a mini-boot camp to prepare them for anything that might come up.
For five days, they led a monk-like existence -- fasting, not speaking and not reading -- while doing exercises designed to help them develop self-control, including bathing in an icy pond, walking in slow motion and counting grains of rice, said MoMA's Erica Papernik, whose job is to make the performers' rotations as smooth as possible.
See photos of two nude performers in "Imponderabilia" here.
More about Naked models, Moma, Museum modern art, New york, Marina abramovic
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