What makes an image funny? In this film, artist Mariah Robertson works with Bill—a male nude model she met online—taking pictures of him in her Greenpoint studio, and later, rehearsing a Martha Graham-inspired dance routine in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Robertson’s point of view is revealed through a series of jokes that highlight not only the artist’s wry sense of humor, but also suggest a critical engagement with gender dynamics, sexual politics, and double-standards within art history. Reacting to the pervasiveness of “purposeful nudes”—from paintings of odalisques to contemporary pornography—Robertson’s images of naked men occupy “a confusing middle zone” that mingle self-reflexivity with visual whimsy.

Mariah Robertson (b. 1975, Indianapolis, IN, USA) grew up in Sacramento, California, and lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

CREDITS | New York Close Up Created & Produced by: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Editor: Brad Kimbrough & Joaquin Perez. Cinematography: John Marton, Wesley Miller, Clair Popkin & Andrew David Watson. Sound: Nicholas Lindner, Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Associate Producer: Ian Forster. Production Assistant: Paulina V. Ahlstrom, Don Edler & Maren Miller. Design: Open. Artwork: Mariah Robertson. Thanks: American Contemporary, Matthew Dipple, Bill, Triskelion Arts, Ellpetha Tsivicos. An Art21 Workshop Production. © Art21, Inc. 2012. All rights reserved.

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