The world needs more male nudes

photo by E.M. for the

Renaissance artists knew which side their bread was buttered. To them, the male nude offered ample opportunity for sensual expression. Take Michelangelo’s David: that beautifully sculpted white marble has gone down in history as the perfect butt. Canvas after canvas shows naked men flexing their muscles and writhing in agony or ecstasy, each taut calf, each quivering bicep, each sweaty brow oozing sexual tension.

But somewhere along the line, the male nude got body-checked by the female. Hers “officially” became the more beautiful, more mysterious form, worthy of high art as well as low. With this shift in the public gaze came a shift in bodily pressures: women were held up to higher and higher standards of beauty, while men were allowed to sit on their flatter and flatter asses and watch porn. No wonder people began believing that men’s bodies weren’t beautiful. And that’s how we ended up with females making up 83% of the nudes in the Modern Art sections of the New York Metropolitan Museum, while only 3% of the artists are female (thanks for dropping that veil, Guerilla Girls).

Well, one female artist is taking matters into her own paintbrushes. The Examiner (which reminded us of that Guerilla Girls ad) just profiled Lower East Side-based artist Kristen Copham who’s working on a series of male nudes — specifically naked portraits of guy artists who use models in their own work, in an effort to 1) give those dudes a taste of their own medicine, and 2) help even the playing field of undressed subjects. Check out her work, including some of these nudes, at NY Studio Gallery, which she is the founder and director of. (The super fast portraits she does are pretty cool, too.)