INTENDED FOR MATURE AUDIENCES. VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.

What makes an image funny? In this film, artist Mariah Robertson works with Bill—a male nude model she met online—taking pictures of him in her Greenpoint studio, and later, rehearsing a Martha Graham-inspired dance routine in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Robertson’s point of view is revealed through a series of jokes that highlight not only the artist’s wry sense of humor, but also suggest a critical engagement with gender dynamics, sexual politics, and double-standards within art history. Reacting to the pervasiveness of “purposeful nudes” — from paintings of odalisques to contemporary pornography — Robertson’s images of naked men occupy “a confusing middle zone” that mingle self-reflexivity with visual whimsy.

Mariah Robertson (b. 1975, Indianapolis, IN, USA) grew up in Sacramento, California, and lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

CREDITS | New York Close Up Created & Produced by: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Editor: Brad Kimbrough & Joaquin Perez. Cinematography: John Marton, Wesley Miller, Clair Popkin & Andrew David Watson. Sound: Nicholas Lindner, Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Associate Producer: Ian Forster. Production Assistant: Paulina V. Ahlstrom, Don Edler & Maren Miller. Design: Open. Artwork: Mariah Robertson. Thanks: American Contemporary, Matthew Dipple, Bill, Triskelion Arts, Ellpetha Tsivicos. An Art21 Workshop Production. © Art21, Inc. 2012. All rights reserved.

“New York Close Up” is supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by Toby Devan Lewis. Additional support provided by The 1896 Studios & Stages.

For more info: art21.org/newyorkcloseup

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