• Louisa de Smet and Steve Wright

    Louisa de Smet and Steve Wright

  • Dianna Laska-Moore and Henry Laska, Sue and Ross Kingsland and Carolyn and Chris Voss

    Dianna Laska-Moore and Henry Laska, Sue and Ross Kingsland and Carolyn and Chris Voss

  • Brent Flohr and Caitlin Hammick

    Brent Flohr and Caitlin Hammick

  • Diana O'Neill, Christine Clark and Bianca James

    Diana O'Neill, Christine Clark and Bianca James

  • Ann-Elise Koerntjes and Hannah Dungan

    Ann-Elise Koerntjes and Hannah Dungan

  • Jasper Wilkinson, Peter Wilkinson and Bella Shaw

    Jasper Wilkinson, Peter Wilkinson and Bella Shaw

  • Wayne Williams, Mike Benjamins, with Chris and Sabine Emery

    Wayne Williams, Mike Benjamins, with Chris and Sabine Emery

  • Allan Faulkes and John Guppy

    Allan Faulkes and John Guppy

  • David Hennessy and Cathy Cotter

    David Hennessy and Cathy Cotter

  • Peter Brew-Bevan and Rob Lumb

    Peter Brew-Bevan and Rob Lumb

  • Penelope Grist and Djon Mundine

    Penelope Grist and Djon Mundine

  • Amanda Briggs and Neil Doody

    Amanda Briggs and Neil Doody

  • National Portrait Gallery director Angus Trumble and the exhibition photos shadow play.

    National Portrait Gallery director Angus Trumble and the exhibition photos shadow play.

  • Full frontal horizontal....and the curator Penelope Grist

    Full frontal horizontal....and the curator Penelope Grist

  • Curator Penelope Grist and the body of Michael Body

    Curator Penelope Grist and the body of Michael Body

  • The late Russell Page.....

    The late Russell Page.....

  • Barbara Blackman....bare and beautiful

    Barbara Blackman....bare and beautiful

Bare @ National Portrait Gallery

13 August 2015

There’s a vulnerability intrinsic to being naked. Whether caught out, accidentally displaying more than you intended, or sprung when you least expected it, we are embarrassed by our bodies unless we are well prepared to bare all. National Portrait Gallery Director Angus Trumble went back to the Garden of Eden story in Genesis to explain our naked shame, and why we cover up and it’s not all about warmth, protection and display.

Bare at the NPG is where you can peruse varying degrees of nakedness, get up close with a mélange of media where the beautiful, the ordinary and the celebrated are presented in varying degrees of bare and enjoy a bit of a giggle as you realise when the clothes come off the bodies are pretty much as expected.
The design by Tim Moore and curatorial excellence by Penelope Grist is planned to explain the stories behind the pictures and while some remembered pictures are included there are treasures from the NPG’s vault never before displayed. Among them the late Russell Page, one of the talented trio of Page brothers from Bangarra Dance Company.

Impressive is the Michael Body portrait, a horizontal full frontal, where he’s caught out sleeping and that vulnerability is obvious as he wakes. So too the uncomfortable face and ‘intake of breath’ moment for MONA owner David Walsh in his bare all moment. But the pleasure of the not quite naked pictures is where this exhibition is fun. Whether manipulated in a pose to obscure the embarrassing bits - who could not love ‘Sherbert’ wrapped around each other- or scantily clad in something clever as Ian Thorpe in a partially painted on rubber suit and the Christine Keeler pose for Dame Edna Everage by Lewis Morley.

To find a favourite is not easy. But I love the Gulpilils, the youthful Heath Ledger and Nicole Kidman pictures and The Golden Girls of Australian swimming with their party frocks on. Its free, on now, and no there will not be bare events held in conjunction with the exhibition.