Visions on the male nude in contemporary art review by Will Forest

Review of Ramírez Muñoz, Miguel A. Visions on the male nude in contemporary art. Universitat Overta de Catalunya, 2017. Final Postgraduate Work in Contemporary Art by Will Forest nudescribe in English and. Spanish

In English:
Ramírez Muñoz’s brief work presents a catalog of masculine nudes, both paintings and photographs, in order to classify, without completely limiting, these works to some of the diverse perspectives on that exist on the topic. Specifying that in today’s world art often lacks references, Ramírez Muñoz problematizes what a human body, in and of itself, can mean, even before taking on what end up being many orientations toward the specifically masculine nude, for example the naturist tradition, the anthropological nude, the nude self-portrait, the quotidian nude, the transcendent nude, and the erotic nude, this last category including representatives of both the queer gaze and the feminine gaze. Some of the featured artists are Fernando Botero, Andrés Serrano, Lucien Freud, and Mu Boyan, although there are about a hundred artists whose works are displayed, in color, in these 126 pages.

As far as naturism is concerned—a topic of interest to this format—the history of the FKK movement is treated briefly at the beginning, as a new representation, at the dawn of the twentieth century, of the nude body’s healthy role in nature. Some of Gerhard Riebicke’s photos represent that time period, along with paintings by von Hofmann, Munch, Sorolla, Enckell, Jansson, and Brown. Ramírez Muñoz also includes a sample of photos by Diane Arbus, who, according to the author, “parece verter sobre el [naturismo] una carga de oscuridad, aparentemente acorde a su predilección por lo feo y marginal” [seems to infuse naturism with a dark charge, apparently in the spirit of her predilection for the ugly and the marginal] (6). There is also a sample of photography by Jock Sturges who, if it was true that he photographed both men and women, nonetheless shows, according to Ramírez Muñoz, that within naturism “se ha centrado mucho más en la figura femenina o infantil, considerada como más estética y desprovista de un significado de violencia que muchos quieren ver en el desnudo masculino adulto” [there has been much more focus on the female figure or on the child, considered as more aesthetic and lacking a sense of violence that many want to see in the nude adult male] (6).

The author achieves a convincing thesis, that onto the artistic male nude there can be an endless range of meanings projected, from carnal pleasures to the abuses of torture, in political, philosophical, ecological and other contexts, and, moreover, that these meanings can exclude each other, or coexist, according to the perspective of each viewer.

The book Visions on Male Nude in Contemporary Art is available for free here

Reseña de
Ramírez Muñoz, Miguel A. . Universitat Overta de Catalunya, 2017. Trabajo Fin de Postgrado en Arte Contemporáneo.

En español:
La breve obra de Ramírez Muñoz presenta un catálago de desnudos masculinos, tanto pintados como fotografiados, para clasificar, sin del todo limitar, estas obras a algunas de las diversas miradas sobre el tema que existen. Especificando que ya en el mundo de hoy el arte muchas veces carece de referentes, Ramírez Muñoz problematiza lo que puede significar un cuerpo humano de por sí, antes de abordar lo que terminan siendo muchas perspectivas hacia el desnudo especificamente masculino, como por ejemplo la tradición naturista, el desnudo antropológico, el autorretrato desnudo, el desnudo cotidiano, el desnudo trascendente, y el desnudo erótico, éste último abarcando tanto visiones queer como visiones femeninas. Algunos de los artistas destacados son Fernando Botero, Andrés Serrano, Lucien Freud, y Mu Boyan, pero hay alrededor de cien artistas cuyas obras son representadas a colores dentro de estas 126 páginas.

En cuanto al naturismo, tema que nos interesa en este formato, la historia del movimiento FKK es tratada brevemente al principio, como una nueva representación, al alba del siglo XX, del papel saludable del cuerpo desnudo dentro de la naturaleza. Algunas fotos de Gerhard Riebicke representan la época, con unos cuadros de von Hofmann, Munch, Sorolla, Enckell, Jansson, y Brown. Ramírez Muñoz también incluye una muestra de fotos de Diane Arbus, quien, según el autor, “parece verter sobre el [naturismo] una carga de oscuridad, aparentemente acorde a su predilección por lo feo y marginal” (6). Aparecen también fotos de Jock Sturges quien, si bien fotografiaba tanto hombres como mujeres, muestra sin embargo que, según Ramírez Muñoz, en el naturismo “se ha centrado mucho más en la figura femenina o infantil, considerada como más estética y desprovista de un significado de violencia que muchos quieren ver en el desnudo masculino adulto” (6).

El autor logra una tesis convincente de que sobre el desnudo masculino artístico se puede proyectar un sinfín de significados, desde los placeres carnales hasta los abusos de la tortura, en contextos politicos, filosóficos, ecológicos, etc. y, lo que es más, que estos significados pueden excluirse, o coexistir, según la mirada de cada quien.

Will Forest nudescribe
The book Visiones sobre el desnudo masculino en el arte contemporáneo is available for free here

The Undercover Policeman – Rags to Riches – Book 1 guest review

I’m not much of a reader, only tend to read when on holiday or when time permits and have never written a book review before … so where to start!

I was looking for a light fictional book that was an easy read for a recent short break and decided to delve into The Undercover Policeman series by Mr Ted Bunn.

The story is of a young police officer called to investigate a crime at a naturist resort in England … little did he know that this would be a life changing experience. The setting portrayed is of a naturist club amass with friendly naturists of various social standings whose balance is upset by petty crime. A beautiful romance blossoms and PC Adiscombe finds himself effortlessly entering the wonderful world of naturism at the same time as discovering the love of his life.

As a naturist on a journey into social nudity I enjoyed this lighthearted storyline and found myself easily transported into the setting of the Eden Gardens Naturist Resort. A very nice short book, easy to read and although fictional, this book is written by a naturist and offers a little insight into naturism and social nudity.

Holly

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Gen 13 Bootleg #18 Review

So, for the last couple of months I’ve been chasing down any 1990’s Image comic, and imagine my surprise when I found Gen 13 Bootleg #18, which is the first comic I’ve read which includes naturism. Well, a nude beach anyway.

Gen 13 Bootleg #18 was published by Image Comics and WildStorm Productions (who were part of Image at the time) back in 1998, although, all (or most) of the characters now belong to DC after WildStorm were bought by DC. It featured a story and artwork by Kevin Altieri (known for Batman, the Animated Series, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm and Spectacular Spider-Man), with inks by Mark Farmer, colours by WildStorm FX and lettering by Amie Grenier and Denice Park and two covers, one by Kevin Altieri and Mark Farmer, and the other by the legendary Bruce Timm.

Black's Beach 02.jpgAnyway, the comic takes place on a nude beach in La Jolla, which for those of you who know the history of naturism will know that the beach is indeed Black’s Beach, America’s first nude beach. The story has Lola Montressori, a wealthy heiress, being attacked by a group of Nazi Pirates who want to kidnap her, but she is saved by Grunge, who was surfing at the beach that day. The pirate submarine then fires a torpedo, but it is turned around by Grunge. There is also a lot of surfing.

Black's Beach 01 (2).jpg

In my opinion, the comic is great. It has the right balance of humour and action to keep the reader interested, and new readers can still enjoy it, even if they haven’t read the previous issues, as it is a self-contained story. Although the only naked person to be a part of the main story is a flirtatious ‘bimbo’ (she is described as a bimbo on the main cover, so I’m not being rude), the scenes in the background show that naturism is suitable for all ages, young and old, and for, essentially, everyone. One scene has Lola in the foreground, with a couple sat on the beach, a mother playing with her child and a man stood near the woman with the baby. There is also a man failing at surfing, being thrown several feet in the air, but that’s beside the point. Point is, the comic does show that a naturist comic could be possible, even if every nipple and such is obscured. Regardless of tour views of nudity, it’s certainly a great and funny read.

Black's Beach 03.jpg

But, with every great thing, there must also be a downside, or something. Although I absolutely love this comic, it does make the only one who’s nude in the main story seem like some kind of sex fiend or something. Still, I’d love to see more comics which aren’t afraid to include naturism, even a little bit, and not make it out as if it’s a joke.

101 Things to do Naked! A Guide to ‘Dress-Free’ Living

This is a review I wrote for the Canadian naturist magazine ‘Going Natural’. I wrote the article in December of 2013. It was later published in the magazine (but I do not remember when exactly, possibly in the summer of 2014.) You are welcome to publish it even if it does not count for your contest.

101 Things to do Naked! A Guide to ‘Dress-Free’ Living

Catherine Roberts (Author), Mike Dominic (Illustrator)

Review by Cor van de Sande

(Note: Cor van de Sande was recently elected as vice-president of the FQN)

It is always pleasant to find out about a new book with a naturist theme even when one discovers afterwards that the book does not meet one’s expectations. Last October, a new author joined the fray and her book is a gem… no, I take that back; it is not a gem but an entire tiara!

Catherine Roberts is a Halifax journalist and avowed naturist who, one day on seeing her husband chopping wood wearing nothing but a pair of rubber boots, had a flash of genius and decided to write a short list (the book has but 50 pages in the print version) of a 101 things that can be done naked. Spread over the four seasons of an Atlantic Canada year (black fly, summer, fall and “cold as a witch’s t**”), Ms. Roberts sows these 101 activities in among short descriptions of her monthly activities at their secluded cottage by a lake with her husband and their beagle although for a small number of these, she also discusses how these activities could be done in a more urban setting.

The book is written in the forthright, mildly wicked and irreverential style that made the television programme “This hour has 22 minutes”, which also originates in Halifax, such a delight to watch. What I found so incredible, although incredible is not quite the right word, seeing that I can easily imagine myself doing the very same things, is how ordinary all these everyday activities are and so typical of cottage living anywhere in Canada or anywhere else. Well… maybe, not quite… discussing the merits of high-powered binoculars with members of the Canadian Coat Guard while sailing in the altogether would take a bit of cheek (pun intended) to pull off.

The book is sparsely illustrated with black and white sketches by Halifax cartoonist Mike Dominic. I say sparsely because there could have been several more illustrations without taking away from the qualities of the book (an illustration of the naked couple standing against the sailboat’s lifeline, talking to the crew of the Canadian Coast Guard cutter would have been delicious). In fact, if I could express one complaint, it is that the book is TOO short – the book is finished even before one gets really into it.

GOING BARE!

What a fabulous read! Seems now its not only me hoping my wife will shed her clothes at a resort or beach as well as our private pool on holiday! Number 1 son follows me in a dislike of clothes…so maybe we can all as a family follow this book!!

I loved the quick humorous read….from departing London Luton with his pants down to driving the Renault Clio to La Jenny.

La Jenny sounds ideal…the sun shines and clothes aren’t needed. I also agree with John that swimwear just makes you feel cold when wet! Loved hearing about how he trusted a few work colleagues with the knowledge he was going to a naturist resort….and the fact that whilst there they went shopping in their towels!

I laughed out loud at John being observed by E chatting to a fellow  naked Brit!!

John even mentions the dreaded “erection” word – saying that apart from being closed doors, even the beautiful ladies on the resort didn’t make it happen!!

As a psoriasis sufferer, its good to read that naturism helps psoriasis…I’ve long said my Summer dips in the North Sea help my psoriasis!! Now I’ve more evidence to take the family to a beach in Spain that I recall my sister and I walking along in the 80s…we named it the “beach of beards”!!

Thanks John for a very quick addictive read…I’m a BN member and will drop you a line!!

Harley Quinn 8 cover

Harley Quinn #8 2016 comic book review

This is my first comic book review. Both sides of the comic book world Marvel and DC Comics have been battling on several fronts recently. Competing movie and television series, as well as reworked, re-envisioned, rebooted comic book universes with lots of diversity are the components of the current battle. Still I was surprised to see diversity extending to placing two of the most popular female characters in the DC universe in a nudist setting. Harley Quinn #8 2016 Harley And Ivy Go To A Nudist Colony Together does just that.

It was clear after seeing the above tweet that review was in order. So here is the review of Harley And Ivy Go To A Nudist Colony Together.

I was a huge comic book fan as a kid and had a huge collection all the way up through high school. I have had a hard time with the evolution of the comic book and the recent reworking of several long time and popular comic book characters. Based on the cover Harley Quinn #8 seems to be a part of the D.C. Comics rebirth effort that seeks to reboot the top 52 characters in the DC Universe and breath new life into D. C. Comics with some modern twists. The Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy of this comic are definitely the new reimagined versions, though there is a bit of a flashback element to start the story and again later in the mid section.

For my taste the story seems a bit jumbled. There are multiple story lines and sub stories going on alongside the visit of the Harley and Ivy to a nudist “colony”. No spoilers here, so I won’t go into the storylines but rather comment on the depiction of the nudist experience. That depiction is a mixed bag. On the one hand when Harley and Ivy arrive at the The Colony (the name of the nudist community) the writers present an accurate and straight forward depiction of nudist values. That is a positive as the dialogue is similar to what any first timer would here at most nudist venues. On the other hand the responses of Harley and Ivy are filled to overflowing with sexual innuendo and double entendres.

While this is very much in character for the two it reinforces the kind of silly social association with nudity and sex that makes the clothes free life and nude recreation less than mainstream. This is evident in the use of the work Colony to describe what is depicted as a modern day clothes free community. The depictions of activity at the nudist community are on point. Community member play tennis and water volleyball and eat meals outside. So it appears some research was done. However, the nudist community only serves as a limited backdrop for the rest of the storylines. In that respect it could well have been any other vacation spot. Though I read the comic on a tablet I thought the artwork to be of the highest quality. The artist’s adopt the technique used in television which has frontal nudity drawing objects in strategic places to avoid the view of any cleavage, genitals etc.

Comic book fans, particularly Harley fans should be pleased with this volume. Nudists and naturists who are not comic readers may not to find much to hold their attention. For an inexpensive frivolous read one might take this Harley out for a spin.

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The City of the Drowned Short Story -Book Review

 Hedonian trireme at sunrise

Hedonian trireme at sunrise

Finneas Ryder
Book Review
Short Story
The City of the Drowned
Nick Alimonos
2006

I was excited to receive this short story to review this month. I had read some of Mr. Alimonos’ work before, but admittedly it was just in bits and pieces and I had never completed any of his full works. It was not because I didn’t appreciate his style or concept, it was because I wasn’t allowing myself time to read for pleasure. Well let me say this off the bat, that was a huge mistake on my part.

I have to say that the science fiction and fantasy genre has always been one of my favorite styles of writing. I enjoy the true escapism that the genre allows the reader when it is well thought out and written. The City of the Drowned is a perfect example of this. This piece opens with a prologue that gives us a look into the background of our female protagonist, Thelana. I had a bit of difficulty tying the prologue into the main story, trying to make a bridge where I am not sure there was one. Personally, I think the biggest take away here was the naturist philosophy that the Ilmar, Thelana’s race, held to; “They were Ilmar, after all, and a covered body was an awkward sight for them……Outsiders called them naked, but the word was meaningless to the Ilmar.”

“They were Ilmar, after all, and a covered body was an awkward sight for them……Outsiders called them naked, but the word was meaningless to the Ilmar.”

The nudity in the story is never treated as a shock value or a point that is shoved in your face like “HEY READER THESE PEOPLE ARE NAKED!!” I really appreciate this fact. Nudity is just treated as an everyday occurrence, as it should be. This is just who are hero (Xandr) and heroine are. Their nakedness only becomes an issue when they are dealing with people outside their realm. I find it terribly interesting that people that our leads encounter on their journey automatically assume that because they choose not to be clothed they are barbaric or simple. Mind you their thinking is quickly corrected by Thelana and Xandr both strong intelligent individuals in their own right but they don’t only resort to words to prove their point. They are strong, adept, fearless fighters letting their spirit and strength clothe them better than any garment ever could.

I had a minor problem trying to keep track of time in the story. There was so much action going on, then suddenly there were things that descriptively in the story stated happened over a great period of time but it was hard for me to grasp. There are several references to the passage of time as a “cycle” but since there is no reference point to pull that to, I just never got it. Was a cycle the period between new moons? I’m not sure. Also, I would have liked to have seen a little more clarity with relationship development between our leads. Having said that, it may just be that I am missing that character development as I have not read the other works in their entirety.

On our protagonists’ journey I found it extremely humorous that there is a city that a great deal of the story references is named “Hedonia,” and that it was rampant with greed, excess, fear of the naked body, such a strong counterpoint to the naturally nude of the Ilmar. Mr. Alimonos cleverly plays on words and descriptors to tie things into modern day society. In addition to the aforementioned city of Hedonia, watch for references to ‘publicans’ and how writers struggle with their craft. I love intelligent writing. I will say that the end of the story leaves us with a great explanation of social nudism that is relevant to our society today, and something that all of us can relate to as we have explained our lifestyle to others at some point.

This story takes us on an epic journey; from wastelands to bustling cities, finally to the drowned city referenced in the title. It is definitely action packed and in a way reminded me of the journeys of Sinbad. I will not give away most of what happens in the story, again, as this is a short story, giving away one plot line will tend to untangle the story and leave new readers disappointed that they would have figured out what was going on. What I will say, is that I was disappointed that the story ended when it did. It left me wanting more, which I believe is the sign of a great author. I look forward to reading more from Nick Alimonos and I hope you take the time to look him up and see for yourself!

Download the complete novella for free as a PDF: [The City of the Drowned]

Nine Reasons You Should Never Be a Naturist

 

Greetings gentle naked readers! I have been away working diligently to restructure and jump start my 2016. I have a stack of reading to catch up on and as I do I will be sharing my thoughts with you. Our first literary adventure completed of this year has been “Nine Reasons You Should Never Be a Naturist” by an unnamed author, only signed as Naked naturalist. I understand the use of a pseudonym, as in all fairness Finneas Ryder is mine, so no judgement from me. Let’s dive in.

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Book Review: The Naked Truth by Lisa Brandt

This review also appears on The Nudist Book Review

Author Lisa Brandt is an experienced entertainer and storyteller, with years of publishing and broadcasting under her belt. She wrote a fictionalized version of her nudist experiences a few years ago, she says, but couldn’t get a publisher interested; in 2012 she finally completed it as a memoir, and published it herself.

She was interviewed on the Naturist Living Podcast in May 2015, which no doubt gave her sales to the naturist community a shot in the arm. Unfortunately it’s not a great contribution to naturist literature, although it’s an interesting look at nudist culture in the early 1980s.

At the age of 18, Brandt took a job with the Four Seasons resort in Freelton, Ontario, Canada. This resort, which was sold and went textile in 2010, was notorious not only for being a nudist club, but also for hosting the Miss Nude World pageant starting in 1970, a publicity stunt that became a worldwide sensation.

Brant trades not only on the reputation of the club but also on NakedTruthCoverher own notoriety there: she was the only member of staff ever (at least up to that point) who didn’t take her clothes off by the end of the summer. And that’s where the problem is, as a piece of naturist literature: this is a memoir about nudism, by an outsider who works very hard to remain an outsider.

Her heart is in the right place; she’s telling her story honestly and completely. But no reader, especially a nudist reader, would come away thinking that nudism were represented fairly. From start to end, Brandt represents nudists as just slightly off, people who might be nice or not, but are just a bit not all right.

This is especially true when she paints the less-flattering portraits of nudists, like the horrifically obese man who consumes an ungodly amount of food every day from the snack bar. She may not outwardly judge the man, but her distaste at his body is lurking not far below the surface.

That said, she has some reason to look askance at nudists as well, judging from the number of men who said offensive things and made indecent proposals to her. It would be nice to think that nudism has changed since Brandt was in among the nudists, and perhaps it has for the better; but women, especially single young women, are targeted for inappropriate sexual advances. It’s extremely important for male nudists especially to understand that this behaviour exists, and to work to eliminate it from naturist settings, where it does not belong. Brandt’s account of being pestered for nude photographs, and to run off to New York City as a consort to a particularly wealthy Four Seasons patron, give nudist men good reason to feel comfortable.

That said, a scene of consensual, private, adult naughtiness – a whipped cream party in the rooms of some patrons – is treated like a horror scene. The unappealing (to Brandt) features of the participants are highlighted, and the shock at viewing a tiny sliver of healthy adult sexuality is far over the top. It might have been shocking to teenaged Lisa Brandt, of course, but the mature author might have given the scene a little more perspective.

In all, though, Brandt is clearly an experienced and effective writer, and she has presented a little slice of nudist history (especially in Ontario, Canada) very engagingly. It’s a tell-all book with nothing to tell, but there’s nothing wrong with us, as readers, enjoying the scenery along the way.

The Naked Truth by Lisa Brandt; Lisa Brandt Creative Services, 2012.

Books by Lisa Brandt

Buy the Naked Truth on Amazon

Mirror Earth by PZ Walker Review

If you like science fiction books you’ll like Mirror Earthby PZ Walker. If you are a naturist, nudist or live clothes free you will like Mirror Earth. If you are curious about naturist/nudist/clothes free life you will like Mirror Earth. In fact there is much to enjoy in this latest novel by naturist author PZ Walker. Walker gives this synopsis of the book.

Earth. The future. Researchers have discovered how to detect fluctuations in time and found that there is the possibility for alternate realities. Complicated calculations, big laboratories and big interests are at stake.
A group of researchers is dedicated to pursuing the biggest experiment in their lives: to see if there are indeed other worlds like ours. And what will they look like if there is anything like another Earth?

Walker’s writing has developed considerably from his first attempts at integrating naturist and clothes free themes into his inventive stories. The characters in Mirror Earth are engaging multi-layered, enjoyable to meet. Using the tried and true sci-fi setting of alternate earths Walker deftly introduces his readers to common naturist themes and principles while exploring some other themes less often connected with clothes free living.

As a reader I was throughly engaged with getting to know the two teams from mirror earths as they work to accomplish a common task. In the process I was challenged to think about how naturists and human beings in general interact with nature, animals, and each other. The best science fiction takes the reader beyond just gadgets and far-fetched technology into a world filled with meaning in which the reader can see themselves. P. Z. Walker accomplishes this and so much more in Mirror Earth. This is the best piece of naturist themed fiction I have read since Coed Naked Philosophy. I encourage you to pick up the great read. I hope the author will explore a sequel and possibly getting this made into a movie as I believe the themes, genre and story warrants it. This is a five star piece of work.

Mirror Earth is available on Smashwords, any Amazon store near your browser, Kobo e-books, of course the Apple iTunes bookstore, Barnes & Noble and in paperback, at Createspace.