Brooklyn Boro

Say goodbye to Bodypainting Day, New York City’s annual celebration of nudity and artistry

July 24, 2023 Ayesha Mir, Assocaited Press
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If you’ve ever dreamed of standing naked in New York City with dozens of strangers while artists turn your skin into a work of art, you may have missed your chance.

Sunday’s Bodypainting Day was the final edition after more than a decade of artists turning nude bodies into works of art.

Organizer Andy Golub expects more than 50 people will be painted over four hours in Manhattan’s Union Square. Golub decided this year’s event would be the last because it’s time to “move on and clear that plate.” He said he wants to find different ways of empowering and bringing people together, including a new event next spring.

After Sunday’s body painting is finished, the participating artists and models will march through Greenwich Village, pose for a photo in Washington Square Park, ride a double-decker bus over the Manhattan Bridge and end the day with a party in Brooklyn, Golub said.

Golub, an artist and free speech activist who’s been painting on nude models since 2007, started the annual body painting extravaganza to underscore that nudity for artistic purposes is legal in New York City.

That hasn’t stopped police from trying to halt the event. In 2011, Golub said, he and two models were arrested and detained for 24 hours, but the charges were dropped once authorities determined they were doing nothing illegal.

“You’ll find there’s a lot of people that have been really impacted positively,” Golub said. “Mostly models, but also artists, and feeling that they’ve come out of their skin. And it’s just been like a really positive experience of really celebrating freedom.”

Past iterations of the event have been held in Columbus Circle, Times Square and other landmark locations across the city.

All participants, models and painters must be age 18 or older, but Sunday’s event was no longer accepting applications.


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