Like those battered old suitcases you see in old people’s homes, luggage that has been through everything from WWII to Benidorm, the tatty torso of James Newell Osterberg is well-travelled and war-torn. Better known as Iggy Pop, Osterberg’s body has been there, seen it, rejected the t-shirt at all costs. It is rock and roll’s most famous physique; up there with Pamela Anderson’s as popular culture’s most-seen. Astute enemy of convention, Brit artist Jeremy Deller, agrees: ‘his body is central to an understanding of rock music and its place within American culture. His body has witnessed much and should be documented.’
And documented it was; Sunday, 21 February, 2016, at the New York Academy of Art. In a very special life drawing class — conceived by Deller and organised by the Brooklyn Museum — 21 artists from all walks of life, 19 to 80 years of age, assembled around that famous body. Exposed for undergraduate and graduate students, practicing artists, and retirees, Pop’s starko frame was captured in a series of drawings that will comprise Iggy Pop Life Class, an autumn exhibition with a tour to follow.
Here comes Johnny Yen again. With the liquor and drugs. And the flesh machine. He’s gonna do another striptease.