Three Pages of Newsweek Flashed 'Meaty' Naked Paintings

Greg Pollowitz of National Review's Media Blog expressed the viewpoint of many in his disgust for Newsweek's nasty "Queen of Rage" cover of Michele Bachmann, and attacked the editor as a sleazeball: "In all honesty, Tina Brown, you are an incredible hack and should be ashamed of yourself. Why not just got for the full HuffPo and add nudity to Newsweek’s print edition?"

Apologies to Greg! Tina Brown did exactly that in the Bachmann issue -- painted nudity. An appreciation of the recently deceased artist Julian Freud and his "refleshing in meaty paint" was illustrated with a huge two-page sample of a morbidly obese naked woman -- titled "Benefits Supervisor Sleeping." (It's also posted on their Daily Beast website -- but much smaller.) Turn the page, and the nudity is doubled: an entire page displays a full-frontal self-portrait of Freud standing in the nude as an old man. The idea that Tina's above Arianna's tricks is shot.

Historian Simon Schama concluded his appreciation:

Genital display—his own included—mattered, almost confrontationally. No other artist has made them the heroic center of his nudes, there to be celebrated as much as registered. In 1993, at 71, Freud painted himself nude and full length, with his own penis rendered in densely scumbled paint, right at the optical center. His pose—one arm raised, brandishing a palette knife, and the other hanging loosely, holding the palette—is exactly that of the Apollo Belvedere, the epitome of refined classicism. This is the tradition Freud takes on in his unapologetic arrogance: muscles still hard; an old pair of unlaced boots protecting him from the splintery wood floor, the only sign of vulnerability; brows furrowed in absolute concentration; the sinewy body coiled yet again for painterly attack.

Earlier in the story, Schama vividly described another streak across the canvas:

One of the masterpieces, Naked Portrait II (1980–81), has a sleeping model, so gravid with late pregnancy that her blue-veined breasts seem painfully desperate to lactate, the belly itself protuberant to bursting, and the vagina already opening as if in obedience to oncoming contractions. The morning after the picture was finished she duly gave birth, the painted and fleshly parturitions simultaneously consummated.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis