Live Nude Girls

click the image to see select portraits from the exhibit 

Live Nude Girls is the Red Light District turned inside out: pleasure activism in action, exploring experiences that reclaim our agency, power, and pleasure in the body. The installation at the Boston Center for the Arts includes intermittent live interactive sessions on Wednesdays and Fridays (except 4/28), an installation of portraits of past participants on view in BCA’s Mills Gallery windows between April 14-29, and an online public performance on Saturday evening, May 1st.

In the wake of the pandemic, how we connect has drastically changed. We have both new, exciting possibilities of virtual spaces and heightened pressure and preciousness of physical connection. In “Live Nude Girls,” I use individual somatic exploration, body painting, poetry, and window displays to explore how we relate to the body in person, in portraiture, and on screen. As we adapt to different cultural norms of connection, how might we witness without objectifying, centering feeling seen as much as we are outwardly seeing? 

Artistic Context

Live Nude Girls is a continuation of my past social practice art installations that foster collective compassion by translating individual stories into large-scale interactive media. My work affirms the personal as political and each person's personal narrative as political narrative. The ways we speak about and treat one another and ourselves ultimately feed or starve larger, institutionalized structures. My core artistic question has evolved from “How do we make peace more captivating than conflict?” into “How do we make social justice a movement of magnetic, undeniable pleasure?” My background in psychology, Authentic Movement, and pleasure activism orient me to somatic experience as the primary source for storytelling, creativity, and non-linear solutions. In this vein of pleasureful social justice, I am investigating and imagining how we will dismantle unjust systems using the benevolent viruses of play, humor, surprise.

The complex, systemic contexts of capitalism, consumerism, scarcity, racism, and oppression deeply inform the landscape of my work. At this incredible time in human history, we have opportunities to create stories that will break through the selective deafness that feeds systems of dominance, consumption, and over-production. In Live Nude Girls, I eagerly question what stories can emerge from our bodies that deconflate productivity and worth, building new structures that value and yes, take pleasure in, the birthright wholeness of all people. I believe that neither the complexities of our problems nor the singular truth of our worthiness can be ignored.


Support for Live Nude Girls

The development of Live Nude Girls would not be possible without my incredible donors, including Erika Gustafson, Clint Johnson, Natasha Nicolaou, and Catherine Siller, and the partnership of so many artistic and somatic practice communities. They support me in creating work in a context of pleasure activism, radical sufficiency, and The Laws of Ease, the basis of my consulting work. Special thanks to the Boston Center for the Arts for selecting me as a 2021 Resident and to all the individuals who have interviewed and supported the work.

Ariel - No More Smiles For You
Ariel - No More Smiles For You