Is ‘Naked Therapy’ Art or Commerce?

By
White. Photo: Courtesy of The Naked Therapist

"Naked therapy," in addition to sounding like the sort of thing a sleazy dude at a bar might suggest to a woman having a tough night, is an actual thing practiced by one Sarah White. White isn't an actual licensed therapist, but she does listen to people talk about their feelings while nude, so yeah, there's probably a real market for that. But White, it turns out, has higher aspirations: She wants her work to be considered art and planned to showcase it at the Chelsea Art Fair this weekend. The problem, as DNAinfo explains, is that the event's organizers have rescinded their invitation.

Visitors were invited to watch White on a live webcam while she stripped down to the buff while talking to "clients" about their concerns — from sexual to childhood issues.

White said it was a piece of art that was meant to comment on the use of hotels and the web as studio spaces.

But organizers rescinded their invitation for White to be included in the May 11 event a week-and-a-half before kickoff, after she sent them a promotional image for the event that included a scantily-clad man and an image of a bare-shouldered White, along with the URL for her "performance art" website, www.thenakedtherapist.org, she said.

The problem, according to the event organizers? The performance seemed like "self-promotion," rather than art. Those are mutually exclusive now? Have they looked around the art world lately?