Sybawrite

A portrait of Anna Maltz

Posted in wrought by juliobesq on March 27, 2013

Anna Maltz

Anna Maltz
Artist, knitter, activist

I discovered the work of Anna Maltz happening upon an apparent portrait of a family wearing what can only be described as knitted nude suits. The little girl examining her father’s woollen penis. The image was posted uncredited on an internet notice board accompanied by a litany of incredulous comments.

It had to have been the work of an artist – a simple and wonderfully executed concept that throws open all the moral and social contradictions in public displays of nudity. I would see it pop up again in unexpected places, each time eliciting a search to find the creator.

When Sasha Baron Cohen premiered “Bruno” in Berlin wearing a similar outfit a year later I made a concerted effort to find the artist, to express my admiration and congratulate her on finding mainstream exposure. Emailing Anna I learnt the Bruno costumes were not by her.

Artists frequently have their ideas purloined by advertising, take Gillian Wearing’s “Signs that say what you want them to say” and the Volkswagen advert by BMP DDB. In a “creative” industry not crediting a concept is ironic as well as unjust.

It’s probable Baron Cohen was unaware of her work but I would be surprised if no-one in his team had not seen the image, given the similarity in the versions. Five years had passed since Anna exhibited her suits and the emergence of the ones to promote Bruno. It seemed a shame to me that the latecomer and conceptually less brilliant version may become the one posterity remembers. So I thought a formal portrait of Anna in her creation would be in order. I must admit that I may also have had a sneaky desire to try one one for myself.

(Although we corresponded the portrait didn’t happen immediately, since, for a while, Anna thought I was asking her to pose nude. A lesson learnt and now I state clearly when propositioning artists and authors that I’m expecting them to keep their clothes on.)

annamaltz.com

Knitted Cock

Posted in caught by juliobesq on March 12, 2010

Anna Maltz, 2 unknown knitted cock photos from the web

The knitted nude suit family photo first reared its woolen consciousness on the internet sometime last year in May. I laughed for days. Most reactions I read and heard were along the lines of “that’s so wrong”. Personally once the amusement had worn down I was left not with unease, but jealousy. Why hadn’t I thought of that. Brilliant. Immense. One simple photo that throws open all the moral and social contradictions in public displays of nudity (for, as Sam the Eagle once pointed out, underneath our clothes everyone is naked).

The little touch of the daughter holding her father’s penis is genius. Exactly. That’s what you were thinking isn’t it? But hold that thought for I am sure many a father has had his tackle grabbed in an amusing manner by an infant daughter at bath time. Current social climes will not even permit photographs of our own kids being bathing without alarmist allegations. Where once Claire Rayner (OBE) recommended letting one’s kids have a good examination up close and personal when it comes time for a birds and bees talk. And before anyone asks, no, like my tiny fictions, this isn’t from real life experiences.

Further examples of knitted cock kept turning up and curiosity grew. When Sacha Baron Cohen aired his for the premiere of Bruno in Berlin last July the dates suggested he too must have seen the suits, rather than vice versa. The photo is way too quirky and thought out to be anything but the work of an artist. It has taken some scratching about but finally I sourced the creator.

Meet Anna Maltz, originally from England, now based in LA, who since 2004 has been knitting the mohair nude suits as part of a series called ‘One size fits all’.  After knitting she photographs families wearing her masterpieces, the resulting images exploring notions of nudity in public and gender awareness.

But why bother letting me summarise her intentions, there’s a marvelous short video of her talking about her work during a photo shoot. Watch it at www.kqed.org/arts/programs/spark/profile.jsp?essid=24056. Her web site is www.annamaltz.com/.

Strangely her name has not surfaced even after the amount of publicity Cohen Baron raised from using her idea. I really hope he played the fluffy pink man and bunged her a substantial kickback for using her idea, or better, also had her create the suits, and didn’t just lift it as the advertising industry has started to do with Youtube. Well Sacha, did you?

Anna Maltz (© http://www.kqed.org), Suits (© http://www.annamaltz.com)

I was awed by the concept and execution before, but after seeing her at work in the video, and hearing say ‘It’s about being with people, it’s about having a good time and doing times that can also have very serious ideas behind it…’, and the breast squeezing anecdote, am I bowled over. Anna Maltz, I want to have your fluffy mohair babies. Conceptually at least.

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