The Mental Museum

Yoko Ono – Nude Vs. Naked

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Cut Piece, 1965

What is the difference between naked and nude? Perhaps nude is a romantic term, sexual, with grace and poise and dignity. Nude in the sense of Venus de Milo or David and Apollo. Nudity is intentional and invited. In the nude, one wears his skin. Naked however evokes vulnerability. Naked is candid and raw and perhaps it is when one is dolorously exposed.

For her performance in Carnegie Hall shown above, Yoko Ono sits motionless after inviting her audience to use the provided scissors to cut off pieces of her clothing. Undirected and unscripted, the event proves to be an effectual social and cultural commentary. Men and women approach the stage until the last participant, a man, snips the straps concealing her breasts. Touching upon dualities of male vs. female, victim vs. assailant and sadist vs. masochist, Yoko Ono submits herself as the tool through which society is permitted to speak. Although a powerful means to communicate and interact with one’s audience, performance artists can never seek to predict the outcome. Cut Piece is extremely submissive in its nature; Yoko Ono has given up complete authority over her piece. What is beautiful is that completion is achieved through a collaborative relationship between the artist and audience and both parties are left with the memory of the experience. However, in this case, can one state that completion is achieved when it is no longer ambiguous that she is in fact naked and not nude?


Written by thementalmuseum

November 13, 2008 at 5:21 pm

Posted in 1

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