Decent Exposure? Nude Model Arrested at The Met

Photo: Zach Hyman snapping model Kathleen "K.C." Neill at The Met.

NEW YORK (CBS/AP) Photographer Zach Hyman gathered his team for what would be his next masterpiece: capturing a nude model in one of the world's most famous art museums, New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art.

But it seems the only nudes allowed at the Met are the ones already on the walls.

After a run-in with museum security, police arrested Kathleen "K.C." Neill, a 26-year-old model, who was posing naked in front of an armored horse for the 22-year-old photographer.

It was the first time one of Hyman's models has been arrested, though the young artist has been snapping nudes in public spaces for the last three months. An earlier photograph of a model disrobing in a subway car recieved media attention.

Hyman plans heavily before a shoot. In this case, his team-of-six entered the gallery around 4 p.m. on Wednesday to see if the coast was clear. "We mapped out the plan, scoped out the scene, got in one by one," Hyman told Crimesider. "It almost felt like a heist."

Once the female guard left the gallery, Hyman directed Neill to disrobe in full view of visitors for a 15 second photo shoot.

But the guard quickly returned and entered the gallery mid-shoot. Neill grabbed her clothes. The team dispersed. But Neill didn't make it out fast enough. She was removed from the museum in handcuffs, the only one of the team that was arrested.

Defense attorney Donald Schechter says the museum is full of nude art, and to call what the model and her photographer were doing obscenity "is ridiculous."

"It's ironic to get caught in an art museum, since that's what we're doing here," Hyman explained.

Neill faces a charge of public lewdness.

Hyman has said he's inspired by nude paintings at the Met and his photos are not pornographic.

Photo: Nude model Kathleen "K.C." Neill briefly adds herself to the collection at The Met in Zach Hyman's photo shoot.

Hyman, a 22-year-old acting-school dropout, has taken nude photos almost everywhere in the Big Apple, including Chinatown and the heavily patrolled Time Square, in which he strategically placed friends near oblivious officers. The models are unpaid. Hyman says they pose because they believe in the art.

During a recent shoot on a subway car, one woman screamed while an elderly man started to shake. But most passengers seemed unfazed, according to the artist.

An exhibit of 14 of his images opened Thursday, Aug. 20, at the Chair and Maiden Gallery in Manhattan. His museum photo will be featured at Art Live 09 exhibit on Sept. 3rd also at the Chair and Maiden Gallery.

August 20, 2009 - Naked Subway: Art or Indecent Exposure?