Naked Therapy was founded by Sarah White in 2010 at SarahWhiteTherapy.com. In 2010 I had just moved to NYC, was pursuing modern dance while supporting myself by catering, and my primary influence was museum visits and discussions with WNYC’s Performance Club. Naked Therapy is an online social practice performance project using a Web 2.0 aesthetic and an anonymous pseudonym. In 2010 social practice was characterized by artists going into communities and creating work within that community (instead of within the museum), and Naked Therapy did this with an internet based male audience. Anonymity was very important to me and is documented in The Google Project.
Naked Therapy went viral in the news in 2011 putting me on Jay Leno, in conversation with Andrew Brietbart, Charlotte Shane, and others, and covered by every major press platform.
In 2012 I was kicked out of an open studio because the artistic director said my images were an “ad” and not “art.”
After deciding to get my MFA in art I “came out” as the Naked Therapist and closed this chapter to preserve it as relic of this specific time of being a female artist online. This project has greatly informed my entire artistic practice.
About Naked Therapy
Naked Therapy (NT) is a form of talk therapy conducted via video chat founded in 2010 by Sarah White. Since then she has conducted 1000s of hour long NT sessions. During a session, the client and/or therapist gets naked to facilitate deeper insights through the experience of arousal. Ultimately, NT is a feminist version of Freudianism, and they have similar origins. Freud treated turn-of-the-century women, while White treats turn-of-a-different-century men. His practice was born out of mesmerization – achieved through hypnosis – and the concomitant positing of the unconscious. NT is sourced in a new form of mesmerization – men in states of online arousal – and the concomitant positing of the arousal brain. In both cases, unearthing the unconscious or arousal brain allows for transference and transformation. Visit the practice at SarahWhiteTherapy.com.
On April 19, 2012, I was accepted as an artist into the West Chelsea Artists Open Studios. On May 1, 2012, I was removed from the event by the director. The removal came after I submitted the image you see below as my feature art for the event’s promotional materials. I was told in an email from the director that I was being removed because my art was an “ad” and that I am a “commercial entity” and “not an artist.” In protest of this blackballing, I held my own Independent Open Studio on May 13, 2012 from 4–8pm at the Hôtel Americano in Chelsea (518 West 27th Street, NYC). At that event I will show my work and host an open discussion forum on the issues of ads vs. art, commercial entity vs. artist, and the professional segregation of women who use the performative body provocatively.
As the following cover stories on ArtInfo.com and Culturebot.net explain, a “fascinating little art world tizzy” occurred around this censorship. In fact, the Culturebot critic compares my art and the controversy it aroused to Marina Abramovic, Damien Hirst, Marcel Duchamp, Laurel Nakadate, and Mami Kotak.
This event peaked my interest in the the prejudice in the art world against women who use the provocative (and potentially commercial) body. It was covered in DNAinfo, NY Maggazine, Huffington Post, Artinfo, etc.
Art & Documentation
Screenshot from the 2010 website.
Informational video from 2012.
Video commissioned by The Museum of Sex for their 2020 show Cam Life.
Sarah White conducted over 1,000 Naked Therapy sessions with hundreds of men. Besides developing theories of arousal’s role in motivation and insight and a male-centered therapeutic methodology, I often documented her experience through art and photography. These works are from 2010-2014. See her full portfolio here. Below are some highlights.
Floor Photos: Ongoing project in which I photograph the floor after a Naked Therapy session.
Portraits of Men: Photographs I took with interview text by the man in the photograph
Hotel Series: An ongoing exploration of the transient, dynamic, life-changing space of the hotel rooms in which several in-person Naked Therapy sessions were conducted
Self-Rorschachs: These images layer patterns of inner emotion and outer environment onto my body in a riff on the classic Rorschach test
Love/Hate: Some love and hate messages I have received
Photoanalysis: A collaboration between Sarah White and various photographers. The photographer articulated his or her process and psychology, and I explored my position as model/object, and the shoot often went in surprising directions. All sessions included photographs and a video work.
Sarah has appeared in the NY Daily News, The Wall Street Journal, The Daily Caller, Huffington Post, FOX – my Fox NY, Chicago, Detroit, Austin, Chattanooga, My Daily on AOL, Daily Mail, The Globe and Mail, CBS News, ABS-CBN News, Gawker.tv, NBC, ABC, WNBC, The Morning Show, Australia, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and many more.