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Rob Pruitt, his panda, and Jerry Saltz.

jerry saltz's travels

Jerry Saltz Gets an Autograph From a Very Naked Rob Pruitt

This past Saturday, I walked into Karma Book on New York's Downing Street to find neo-pop artist Rob Pruitt, the one who made that wonderful shiny statue of Warhol now in Union Square, sitting completely naked except for a small panda in his lap; he was signing his book Pop Touched Me — or anything else you might bring in. I had New York Magazine's Nicki Minaj cover from a few weeks back, and he quickly panda-ized her — or maybe Mickey Moused her. I loved Pruitt's nerve to do this — I mean, to sit naked. So openly and guilelessly. I've always thought art is a way for artists to dance naked in public. Pruitt literalizes this, keeping it poetic and pathos-filled in the process: being the butt of jokes that day, from "Is that a Panda in your pocket?" to "Your Panda has shrinkage," while smiling blithely, signing away all day. Ah, the art world.

Pruitt's autograph on New York's Nicki Minaj cover.
Photos: Jerry Saltz; Jerry Saltz