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After Henri Matisse © Noah Boskey, Erin Carr, Emma Castelbolognesi, Crystelle Colucci, Alberto Inamagua, and Allison Schaller

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After Mert and Marcus © Anthony Costa, Jessica Frankl, Mikaela Keen Lumongsod, Frankie Mule, Gabrielia Priyma, Balazs Sebok, and Valeriya Vaynerman

For photographer, VICE Photo Editor, and educator Matthew Leifheit, borrowing, duplicating, and reinterpreting the work of artists who came before is an integral element of photography. For this reason, he recently asked his students at New York City’s School of Visual Arts to reproduce in photographs the some of their favorite artworks centered around the nude human form, a figure that has been nearly ubiquitous throughout the last few millennia of art history.

Leifheit explains that throughout his own practice, deconstructing and reconstituting the elements of admired artworks has allowed him to organically developed his eye and technical acumen. Recently, he revisited an iconic Richard Avedon portrait with pornography guru Michael Lucas doing his best impersonation of dancer Rudolph Nureyev. “I like to assign things to my students that I would be interested in doing myself,” explains Leifheit of the project.

Although the students were permitted to revive any conceivable artwork from the annals of history, some classics were chosen by Leifheit for their instant recognizability. Unsurprisingly, the majority selected photographs to work from. The School of Visual Arts, says the instructor, offers figure models not only to painting and sculpture classes but also to those in photography. For this project, the students were asked to work with whomever was at the school that day, a restriction that allowed for serendipitous opportunities for diversity and gender-bending.

No matter how rigorous a replication process might be, no doubled image can ever be an exact mirror for the artwork on which it was based, and that ultimately, is the beauty of this collection. Says Leifheit, “I’m interested in the stuff dead artists leave behind, and how those kind of archives can be reactivated.”

An exhibition of these images, titled Artsy Nudes, will be on view at the School of Visual Arts until March 20th, 2015.

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After Helmut Newton © Ebb Bayarsaikhan, Hannah Hurley, and Hayley Stephon

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After Robert Mapplethorpe © Noah Boskey, Erin Carr, Emma Castelbolognesi, Crystelle Colucci, Alberto Inamagua, and Allison Schaller

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After Jenny Saville & Glen Luchford © Noah Boskey, Erin Carr, Emma Castelbolognesi, Crystelle Colucci, Alberto Inamagua, and Allison Schaller

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After Malerie Marder © Noah Boskey, Erin Carr, Emma Castelbolognesi, Crystelle Colucci, Alberto Inamagua, and Allison Schaller

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After Marcel Duchamp © Anthony Costa, Jessica Frankl, Mikaela Keen Lumongsod, Frankie Mule, Gabrielia Priyma, Balazs Sebok, and Valeriya Vaynerman

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After Helmut Newton © Anthony Costa, Jessica Frankl, Mikaela Keen Lumongsod, Frankie Mule, Gabrielia Priyma, Balazs Sebok, and Valeriya Vaynerman

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After Diego Velázquez © Ebb Bayarsaikhan, Hannah Hurley, and Hayley Stephon; painting by Jake Kaplan

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After Sally Mann  © Anthony Costa, Jessica Frankl, Mikaela Keen Lumongsod, Frankie Mule, Gabrielia Priyma, Balazs Sebok, and Valeriya Vaynerman

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After Ryan Mcginley © Ebb Bayarsaikhan, Hannah Hurley, Hayley Stephon, and Jimmy Tagliaferri

via VICE

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