Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Ghost in the Human Machine: Tony Bennett's Nude Drawing of Lady Gaga

by Gregg Chadwick

Lady Gaga Poses For Tony Bennett in His Atelier
photo and concept by Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair

During Lady Gaga's entertaining Thanksgiving special she joked about her brief gig as a life model for singer and visual artist Tony Bennett. Gaga recounted:
"I walked in and said, 'Well, Tony, here we are,' and I dropped my robe and I got into position. I felt shy and thought, 'It's Tony Bennett. Why am I naked?"
Lady Gaga had come face to face with what Kathleen Rooney describes as the “spine-tingling combination of power and vulnerability, submission and dominance” of nude modeling in her
marvelous book Live Nude Girl : My Life As An Object. Rooney's book provides an introspective look at the history and challenges of art modeling from the model's point of view. Rooney's meditative prose leads us to a point of connection between muse and artist.
Why after centuries of images in charcoal, paint, stone and silver print do artists still feel the need to depict the human figure? For me it is our shared connection as sentient, sexual, and spiritual beings. By taking the time to deeply look at and into another person we move closer to finding the ghost in the human machine. At our core we are all naked.

Tony Bennett
Figure Study of Lady Gaga
18"x24" charcoal on paper 2011

 Tony Bennett's nude charcoal drawing of Lady Gaga is up for auction at eBay Celebrity, with proceeds to benefit the two singers' foundations – Tony Bennett's Exploring the Arts and Lady Gaga's Born This Way

The Rose of Time
Gregg Chadwick
The Rose of Time
30"x20" oil on linen 201o
Manifesta Maastricht Gallery, The Netherlands

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