Naked, But Not in a Good Way

Naked gets scary

By Carissa DiMargo
|  Monday, Aug 10, 2009  |  Updated 10:31 AM EDT
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Naked, But Not in a Good Way

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We'll be seeing this in our sleep for ages.

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We guess we can't really say that we just visit the Phillips Collection for the articles.

Paint Made Flesh, an exhibit running through Sept. 13, strips down (literally) to the basic fears of humanity: desirability, attractiveness, love, sex and death. The 40+ oils in the exhibit are often more dark and disturbing than beautiful.

But art isn't supposed about Playboy bunnies, right? The series of nudes reflects the uncertainty of the post-war years, and we're not even gonna get started on the anxiety over health care these days.

Jenny Saville's arresting "Hyphen" (1999) depicts a pair of girls who at first glance appear to be conjoined twins. Look closer and you'll realize one sister merely has her chin hooked over the other's shoulder, but their skin -- layered on in chunky heaps of paint -- appears to be sliding off their round cheeks, and their puffy lips seem ringed with blood. Saville equates the concept to the ugly side of plastic surgery and the very un-pretty things people can do to themselves.

Yeah, think about that next time you're staring at yourself in the mirror. At least you'll look better than most of the folks in this exhibit, right?

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