BY JEFFERSON SIEGEL | As the city sweltered through the start of a heat wave on Saturday, a scorching sidewalk in the East Village was the perfect medium for body artist Andy Golub to indulge in a little public body painting.
“The purpose of it is to express myself and to connect people with art,” Golub said of body painting, as he delicately applied paint on three nude models near the Astor Place “Cube.”
With museums and art galleries closed, his living compositions added some colorful diversions to an art-bereft city. As the streets continue to be emptied by COVID and the heat, the few passersby out in the noonday sun took a moment to capture the scene on cell-phone cameras while delivery people pushing overloaded trolleys only glanced as they passed. The nude models made sure to wear artistically appropriate face masks. The artist himself wore a full plastic face shield.
Golub and his Human Connection Arts have been body painting in public for 10 years now. His yearly body painting events have become world famous, drawing dozens of naked people anxious to become living canvases. This year’s NYC Bodypainting Day will occur on July 25 in Times Square from noon to 4 p.m.
While public nudity is illegal in the city, Golub years ago challenged authorities to read the fine print after he and a model were arrested for public lewdness. A subsequent lawsuit forced authorities — and catcallers — to recognize that public nudity is legal when it’s part of “a performance, exhibition or show.”
“I think it’s important to keep creating, expressing and being open to each other,” Golub said.
Of his live creations, he said, “It’s a celebration of humanity.”