November 2019

Featuring Lana Rhoades

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Naked Or Nude?

Are you comfortable being naked, or would you rather be nude? Who would you rather be photographed by: an artist or a pornographer?

Nudity is everywhere, but the hangups continue. Censorship wars are waged again and again over whether an unclothed body is art, nature or obscenity. And in the arena of gender politics, it’s all about objectification: whether someone is being treated as a sex object rather than a complete person.

The rise of the Internet and easy access to explicit imagery have made the discussion more heated than ever and raised new challenges for artists working with nudity. The specter of porn haunts everything, threatening to totally sexualize perceptions.

Some artists are tackling the issue head-on, stripping their subjects and placing the question full frontal. Exploring the comfort level needed to “take it off” for public view, Asia Hamilton recently assembled an eye-opening multimedia show called “Naked or Nude?” at North End Studios in Detroit, Michigan. Regardless of whether you’re butt naked on a porn set or posing nude for a work of art, selfconfidence is a general prerequisite. But Hamilton has also found that cultural and racial differences play a significant role. The self-proclaimed “photographic artist” talked to us about her inspiration for “Naked or Nude?” and the fluid categories of fine art, eroticism and porn.

HUSTLER: There’s no shortage of nudity these days. Why do an art exhibit about it?

ASIA HAMILTON: I’ve always been intrigued by the human figure—the beautiful and unique curves of the body. Some of the greatest works of art are of nude people. I started this project in exploration of myself, wanting to show regular people as beautiful works of art—fat, skinny, tall, short, black, white. Just regular people.

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