PORTLAND, Maine — Pop artist Jessica Lauren Lipton stood on the dance floor at Flask Lounge on Tuesday, clad only in her underwear. Lipton stayed silent but her voice looped on a sound system. It invited strangers to dip their fingers in powdered charcoal and caress her body. She asked them to leave soot-stained fingerprints on her pale skin, blackened evidence of where their hands had roamed.
Half a dozen people did just that. Some were quick, others lingered, but everyone left their mark.
By the end of Lipton’s happy hour art performance, her neck, face, hands and belly bore smudges. Beaming, she then put on her clothes and celebrated her success with a beer at the bar.
Lipton calls her exploration of human touch “My Body is Your Body is Everybody is Nobody.” She’s not finished, either. Moving on from the caress, over the next three Tuesdays, she will ask people to squeeze, slap and kiss her — all for the sake of art.
Troy R. Bennett
Troy R. Bennett is a Buxton native and longtime Portland resident whose photojournalism has appeared in media outlets all over the world.
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