Martha Cooper Shoots Nudes n’ Prudes in Rochester and Atlanta

This article was posted by Martha Cooper 2 years, 4 months, 3 weeks, 1 day, 20 hours, 35 minutes ago.

This summer I was privileged to photograph two of the most respected street artists in the world at work: Faith47 from South Africa at Wall Therapy in Rochester and Hyuro from Argentina via Valencia at Living Walls in Atlanta. Both painted huge murals over long hours in the blazing sun. Sadly a few, but by no means all, members of their wall’s respective communities objected to the content of the murals. Why? Prudery! Faith’s wall contains one artistically draped bare breast and Hyuro’s an animated series of drawings of a woman undressing, donning and then shedding a fur wolf suit. The animation is posted on Vandalog.

In Sweden or Germany or probably most of Europe, neither mural would be controversial. But in Rochester and Atlanta the walls happened to be located near religious institutions and their leaders were most vocal in condemning the art.

I can empathize with people who don’t feel they had a voice in deciding what they will have to look at every day—whether art, architecture or advertising. On the other hand, artists need the freedom to paint whatever they feel would best fit a particular wall and the neighborhood. This is obviously a difficult balance to strike and one that the organizers of street art festivals have to grapple with to retain funding and procure suitable walls to paint. Aesthetics are subjective and no mural will appeal to everyone. Personally, I would like to see artists pushing the envelope a bit and giving people something to ponder and discuss as in the case of both of these walls.

Street art is ephemeral. Paint fades and buildings are torn down. Photography almost always lasts longer than the art. I am especially happy to be able to post these photos and also, for comparison,  a few examples of nude women in art from centuries past when apparently people were more accepting of the female figure.


South African artist Faith47 painting in Rochester, NY as part of Wall Therapy.


Faith47-finished mural.

Hyuro, Argentinian artist now living in Valencia, Spain painting in Atlanta as part of Living Walls.



Hyuro's finished wall.

Venus de Milo by Praxiteles c. 120BC

Botticelli, The Birth of Venus, 1485

Joovs van Cleve, Virgin & Child, 1525

The Venus of Urbino, Titian 1538

The Satyr and Antiope, Van Dyck 1630

The Birth of Venus, Cabenel 1875

The Bathers, Renoir, 1887

La Vie, Picasso, 1903

Text and Photo: Martha Cooper

Martha Cooper,
Faith 47,
Wall Therapy NY,
Living Walls Atlanta,

© Martha Cooper & 12ozProphet - Tuesday September 04, 2012 at 09:45 AM

There are 1 comments...

burpwhat - Tuesday September 04, 2012 at 03:20 PM...

burpwhat on 12ozProphet

street art to the fullest, please quit promoting this kind of artsy bullshit! Do you think these “artists” will still be doing this shit when “street art” isn’t popular anymore? the answer is no. they’ll move onto what ever else is hot for the minute, low-brow art, street art, etc. etc. go get in a head on collision with shepard fartley.

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