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Museum invites guests to strip off to view homoerotic art exhibit

Nick Duffy October 21, 2016

A Canadian art museum held a queer art exhibition like no other this week – because all of the guests were naked.

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts held the one-off event to honour the work of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, whose highly homoerotic work captured the early queer community.

They invited 100 guests to check out their new exhibition, ‘Focus: Perfection — Robert Mapplethorpe’ while totally naked.

They collaborated with Montreal gay magazine Fugues to put together the event, finding 100 people who were up for stripping down in the middle of an art gallery.

Thomas Bastien, the Museum’s Director of Education and Cultural Action, explained: “When you look at his photos, you can see the diversity of bodies that he captured. We wanted to find a way to reflect that diversity for visitors to the exhibit.”

Fugues editor Yves Lafontaine added: “We learned that two other museums, in Sydney and Vienna, had done naked-visit events in the past [which] were very successful.

“With the Mapplethorpe exhibit, it seemed the perfect match for us.”

Attendee Braden Scott told CBC: “I think initially people were a bit shy, but there was a cocktail first, so anyone with issues could get over it.

“My initial response when I saw the ad was, ’This is a night for perverts.’ But then I thought about it and realized what a great idea it is, given Mapplethorpe’s art.”

“I’m very impressed that the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts did this,” he continued. “It shows that they are aware of what [Mapplethorpe] was doing and who he was speaking to—doing an event like this integrates the work with the spectator.”

Mapplethore was diagnosed with HIV at the height of the AIDS crisis, and died from AIDS-related illness in 1989. His work continues to raise millions to fight HIV/AIDS via the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation.

More: Americas, art, Canada, exhibit, Mapplethorpe, Robert Mapplethorpe

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