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They're getting older -- and barer

August 16, 2007|David Ng

Art or wardrobe malfunction? The bared bosom on display in the new group exhibit Golden Gals Gone Wild could qualify as both.

The bodies belong to the stars of NBC's dearly departed sitcom "The Golden Girls" -- Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan, Betty White and Estelle Getty. In 35 new works by local artists, the actresses are portrayed in various stages of undress. In one portrait, a topless Arthur poses provocatively against a leopard skin backdrop. In another, White models black-leather bondage gear. Some works show the actresses doing the full Monty.

"It's an exploration of ageism and sexuality with a camp twist," says Lenora Claire, the show's curator. A year ago, Claire bought a nude painting of Arthur on EBay for $110 and hung it in her apartment. She received so much interest from friends that she decided to organize an exhibition with artists she knew.

The show, which runs through Aug. 31, features oils, drawings, stained glass and sculpture -- if you can count blow-up dolls as sculpture.

"The sitcom, and especially Rue, made senior-citizen sexuality a fun topic," says Thairin Smothers, who created a blow-up doll for each cast member. "It only makes sense that we would respond to that."

Adventurous collectors should take note: All of the work on display is for sale. A mixed-media collage of McClanahan made from condom wrappers and makeup containers was listed at $3,400. Other works were more affordable. The blow-up dolls went for $500 while a pair of men's briefs with Arthur's face emblazoned on them sold for $35.

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Golden Gals Gone Wild, World of Wonder Art Space, 6650 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. Ends Aug. 31. Hours vary, so call ahead: (323) 603-6300; myspace.com/goldengirlsgoerotic

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