Ten years ago this month, artist Andy Golub and two nude models were arrested in Times Square by NYPD cops who believed his body painting was a crime.

This Sunday, Golub is celebrating legal wins and an increasing appreciation for body art with an all-day body painting extravaganza starting in Union Square and ending in Greenpoint, and featuring more than 50 nude models ready to — legally — strip down.

Brooklyn got a taste of what’s to come last Saturday, with Golub previewing his new “Human Canvas” project in Greenpoint, in which multiple naked people are painted as different parts of one whole.

The Human Canvas project. Photo: Andy Golub

“Saturday’s event was a human canvas painting, where a group of models form their bodies together and are painted as one large painting,” he said.

He said the upcoming event on Sunday is more about sharing the interactive art of body painting with the public “in the most public space” at Union Square Park.

Golub and 30 other artists will be working on more than 50 naked bodies, “regular people of all shapes and sizes,” he said.

The models will then pose on the hoods and roofs of buses and vans around Union Square Park, then march down Fifth Avenue to Washington Square Park, boarding a double decker bus headed to an afterparty at Human Connection Arts‘ event space in Greenpoint.

A decade ago, the models and artists probably would have been arrested for what they’re planning for Sunday.

NYC Body Painting Day took place at Maria Hernadez Park in 2019.

After Golub and his two models were booked by cops in Times Square ten years ago, both models sued the City, saying nudity is allowed as part of art.

At least one recieved a $15,000 settlement. Golub also had his charges dismissed, on the condition he only paint after dark.

In 2013, NYCLU helped Golub remove that condition, with the NYPD publicly acknowledging full nudity is legal in public for the sake of art, Golub said.

“Bodypainting Day this year is a celebration as it comes at a time where the city is finally opening back up. Together we celebrate the resilience and human connection that makes New York City great.”

Golub and his colleagues should have no problems with the cops on Sunday, although he sometimes still encounters people who have a problem with his work.

In 2019, Golub and other artists transformed Bushwick’s Maria Hernandez Park into a live art gallery, which attracted a few protestors.

For more information about Sunday’s event, click here.

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Jessy Edwards

Jessy Edwards is a freelance writer based in Bushwick. Originally from New Zealand, she has written for the BBC, Rolling Stone, NBC New York, CNBC and her hometown newspaper, The Dominion Post, among others.

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  1. I actually received a $20,000 settlement, though I ought to have asked for more, considering how they treated me during my 26 hour detainment.
    Of the two models arrested that day, I was the only one that sued.
    A third model was arrested with Andy a week or two later, but since NYPD was already in hot water for our arrest, she was released before they even had a chance to book her, if I recall correctly. She also sued and settled for $10,000.
    July 31st is the 10 year anniversary of that most prestigious arrest. Feel free to reach out to me. I would actually appreciate it, as I am too often written out of the narrative, or included as a foot note, when I was actually an integral player in this whole situation.
    It was my decision to go fully nude that tipped the first domino, leading to where we are, now.

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