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Last weekend visitors to Tate Britain got more figurative art than perhaps they’d bargained on when Neo Naturists Jennifer and Christine Binnie and Wilma Johnson took the gallery by storm with a naked lecture followed by an impromptu “flash” in the Duveens Galleries and the exhibition Women in Revolt! (until 7 April). The lecture was part of a programmed “Sunday Social” in which artists featured in the exhibition were invited to respond to the Tate’s collection. The Neo Naturists’ response was “Nudes in the Tate”, a performance-lecture which involved each of the trio painting their naked body to resemble a chosen female nude from the Tate’s holdings and to speak about their choice.

Wilma Johnson was SeatedNude: The Black Hat by Philip Wilson Steer, Jennifer Binnie the multicoloured nymph in Chris Ofili’s Night with a Satyr while Christine Binnie embodied Adam, Eve and the serpent from James Barry’s Temptation of Adam. The trio agreed that making these choices was not easy, as the majority of Tate’s female nudes consist of idealised images made by men. However this time the NN’s bodily display was emphatically on their terms as the sixty-something trio left the lecture podium to bare all in the lofty Duveens and pose before their own artworks depicting their younger 1980s selves in Women in Revolt! Do women have to be naked to get into the Tate Gallery? When they call the shots, you betcha!

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