Desnudas of Times Square


Artist: Various

Year: 2015

Date of Action: August 2015

Region: North America

Location: New York, NY USA

Subject: Nudity

Medium: Performance Art, Public Art

Confronting Bodies: New York Daily News

Description of Artwork: Women posing topless in Times Square, decorated with body paint (often resembling the American flag), and soliciting tourists and other pedestrians to pose in photos with them in exchange for tips.

The Incident: The New York Daily News has run multiple articles lambasting the topless performance artists, and an August 16, 2015 cover with the title "Bust This Flesh Pit: Growing Surge of Topless Hustlers Defiles City." Criticism has frequently claimed that children in the public space should not be exposed to topless women.

The New York Times quoted NYPD Commissioner William Bratton as disapproving of the practice, but unable find a legal basis for removing them:

"'It drives me crazy when at Times Square you see the naked people there covered in body paint as an expression of art,'" Mr. Bratton said in a recent interview with City & State magazine on the subject of questionable street behavior. Yet, he added: 'We’ve researched that top to bottom and we cannot find any law that allows us to interfere with that freedom of expression reflected through art form.'"

Results of Incident: Ongoing, no legal action taken yet.