November 4, 2016–June 18, 2017
How did the museum select which artists would be in the Iggy Pop show?
Jeremy Deller and Brooklyn Museum curator Sharon Matt Atkins contacted instructors at several art schools in New York, seeking out schools that are committed to traditional study from the nude model. An instructor from each school showed Deller drawings from several of their students, and he selected candidates for the "Iggy Pop life class." They didn't know who their model would be until the last minute! The artists really vary in age and experience. Iggy Pop did several short poses and one longer pose for them. It's an interesting twist on his usual high-energy musical appearances; this "performance" was very structured and controlled. It's also a twist on the traditional set-up in which the artist was usually male and the nude model a female!
Can you guys help me with this? I saw something similar at the MET called a "Smiling Figure" from Mexico. Is this the same thing?
Yes, these figurines are also referred to as Smiling Figurines because they are represented in a state of euphoria, perhaps due to intoxication from a fermented beverage or hallucinogenic drug, we don't know for sure. These figures were made in large numbers in "press molds" where wet clay was pressed into a fired clay mold. Each one is slightly unique though, as the artist would add details afterwards: some of them little tongues, others teeth. They are very charming!
The one at the MET is attributed to the Veracruz culture and is from Remojadas. Is that a place or a collection? How is Totonac related?
Remojadas is a place and a name applied to the culture who produced works of a certain artistic style. Remojada culture is considered a subset of the larger Veracruz culture. The Totonac are also from the Veracruz area and their material culture is related.
Is this guy a pilot? What's going on here?
This man is not a pilot, but he is in an airplane. This photograph was taken during the 2nd World War in the Rabaul Harbor in Papua New Guinea and this man was a gunner firing at the Japanese enemy. Allied fighters attacked the location continuously from 1944-45.
This gunner had removed his clothes to jump into the water and rescue a fellow soldier. He didn't have time to put his clothes back on before returning to his station!
Why is the exhibition called Iggy Pop Life Class?
The focal point of the exhibition are drawings from a single life class where Iggy Pop was the model. Learning to draw the human body has long been an important aspect of art education. Live models in different poses provide a way for students to learn from real life. In this case, the conceptual artist Jeremy Deller has created a class of artists with different backgrounds and one model, Iggy Pop.
Tell me more.
This drawing is an example from the one long pose that Iggy Pop did when he modeled for the life drawing class! It's interesting to compare the students' drawings not only for their different approaches to drawing, but also their different vantage points around the room and how it impacted their final works.
How old is Iggy Pop, and what was his date of birth?
Iggy Pop is 70 years old. He was born on April 21, 1947. He turned 70 today, actually!
Happy birthday Iggy!!!!
We were just saying that, too!
What can you tell me about this Iggy Pop exhibit? Were all these different artists drawing him at once?
Yes! The English artist Jeremy Deller staged a life drawing class where 21 art students, and one instructor, from NYC drew the musical icon. Deller's work is grounded in collaboration and often connects to music, so working with all these artists to bring his concept to reality is very in keeping with his art. The artists who drew Iggy were from ages 19-80 and all had varied experience with drawing.
The drawings you sent are from Guno Park, who is a professional artist and holds his MFA from the New York Academy of Art.
I've seen figures like this before, why were they made?
This one in particular served as a whistle. Overall, their function is still being interpreted. It is believed that they served a ritual function in life, as many show signs of being used or have musical rattles built into them.
Is this Roman?
This Torso of Dionysus is probably the most Roman object on view right now! Like many Roman statues, it is a copy of a Greek original. It can be identified as Dionysus by the goat hooves on the skin he wears.
Of particular interest is the incredible craftsmanship and the beautiful black stone that was quarried in Egypt.
Is this a self portrait?
Yes, it is! Egon Schiele is known for his self-portraits, of which this is one. These depictions are unique for male self-portraits as the artist often depicts himself as emaciated and deformed, with body parts missing.
What can you tell me about this?
The photo was taken in Rabaul Harbor in Papua New Guinea during WWII. Rabaul was a key base of air and naval operations for the Japanese in the South Pacific. During a battle, an American plane was shot down, and another aircraft was sent to retrieve the airman who was now in the water.
The rescuing gunner realized he would have to go in the water to save his mate, so he stripped nude, jumped in, and brought the injured man on board.
Before he had any time to put his clothes back on, however, he had to get back to his machine gun post, and so he did, butt naked! That is the moment the photographer, Horace Bristol, captured. Can you see the text behind the gunner's backside?
Amazing. And he's hot...
What can you tell me about this?
This is one of my personal favorites in the show. The seated pose with the staff was the one long pose Pop did. The way artists like Segall, here, treat his body make him look quite regal.
It really makes you think about the intersection of the subject and his celebrity. Interestingly, Deller first approached Pop about this project ten years ago and Pop initially turned him down because he felt his body was not ready to be scrutinized in such a way.
Does this have Indic /Buddhistic influences? Where is this from?
It absolutely does; great eye! This is a statue of Mahavira from India, specifically the southern Indian state of Karnataka. Mahavira lived about a generation before Shakyamuni Buddha and founded the Jain tradition.
Images of Shakyamuni Buddha and Mahavira were both formed in the same cultural context and share a number of features. Both tie into the idea that a great or superhuman man can be recognized by certain physical characteristics, such as elongated arms. Both figures also represent the idea of asceticism, which means they are shown with shorn hair and no adornments (although images of the Buddha can venture away from this in certain times/places).
Who is Iggy Pop?
Iggy Pop is a pioneer of punk rock especially known for his very physically active performances. You may know some of his songs like "Lust for Life" and "Wild One."
The artist Jeremy Deller wanted to work with him on the Life Class project because his body is well known and also visibly marked by his lifestyle thus telling a story on its own.
The one seems pretty simplistic, anything notable?
I'd say the sensitive and restrained shading in the hair and in the shoulder are really pleasing. This was one of many sketches done during the Iggy Pop life drawing class. The pose for this particular sketch was held for five minutes.